Conciliation between Israel and Morocco Isn’t Just about the Necessities of the Present, but Also Millennia of History

Herself a Frenchwoman of Moroccan descent, Marie Daouda explains the enthusiasm she feels for the normalization agreement between Jerusalem and Rabat, and seeks to place recent diplomacy in its historical context:

The first Jews in Morocco were Berbers, converted via commercial bonds as early as the 2nd century BCE. One of the most ancient synagogues [in the world] is in Zagora, [a city in southeastern a Morocco]; a funerary stone in the Roman ruins of Volubilis, [ in the norther part of the country], mentions Caecilianos, a member of the Jewish community, and some Jewish cemeteries have been in use for two millennia.

This original Jewish population was joined in the 7th century CE by refugees from Spain escaping the persecution of the Christian Visigoth kings. By that time the Maghreb had fallen to Arab invaders and provided a springboard for the conquest of Spain in 711, which would subsequently prove a more welcoming home to Jews for centuries. Yet Islamic rulers in Morocco had fits of intolerance, too: in 1033, the Muslim chieftain Tamim Ibn Izri massacred the Jews of Fez and forced the surviving women and children into slavery.

The arrival of Spanish Jews after the Reconquista coincided with more peaceful relations. . . . Paradoxically, because Jews worked in professions Muslims recoiled from for religious reasons, they found themselves in charge of essential diplomatic and commercial duties. . . . Moroccan Jews were not just moneylenders, but also extremely skillful craftsmen and artists. Their contribution to music, architecture, and literature was enormous.

Following [World War II], the first Jews to leave the country did so in order to follow the dream of an independent Israel, but conditions at home were to drive many more away in the following decades.

And when I hear Sephardi grandmothers talking in Moroccan Arabic with that distinctive Jewish accent, either in Paris’s Sentier or on Brent Street in northwest London, I feel a kinship that is hard to put into words but that can move me to tears. And so in these troubled times, when anti-Semitism takes a new face, it warms my heart to see my native country welcoming back its most genuinely Moroccan citizens.

Read more at UnHerd

More about: Israel diplomacy, Moroccan Jewry, Morocco


Using the Power of the Law to Fight Anti-Semitism

Examining carefully the problem of anti-Semitism, and sympathy with jihadists, at American universities, Danielle Pletka addresses the very difficult problem of what can be done about it. Pletka avoids such simplistic answers as calling for more education and turns instead to a more promising tool: law. The complex networks of organizations funding and helping to organize campus protests are often connected to malicious states like Qatar, and to U.S.-designated terrorist groups. Thus, without broaching complex questions of freedom of speech, state and federal governments already have ample justifications to crack down. Pletka also suggests various ways existing legal frameworks can be strengthened.

And that’s not all:

What is Congress’s ultimate leverage? Federal funding. Institutions of higher education in the United States will receive north of $200 billion from the federal government in 2024.

[In addition], it is critical to understand that foreign funders have been allowed, more or less, to turn U.S. institutions of higher education into political fiefdoms, with their leaders and faculty serving as spokesmen for foreign interests. Under U.S. law currently, those who enter into contracts or receive funding to advocate for the interest of a foreign government are required to register with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This requirement is embedded in a criminal statute, and a violation risks jail time. There is no reason compliance by American educational institutions with disclosure laws should not be subject to similar criminal penalties.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American law, Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus