Moroccan-Israeli Relations Are Strengthening, but Slowly

Last week, Alon Ushpiz, the number-two in Israel’s foreign ministry, visited Morocco—the first major diplomatic visit since the two countries resumed normal relations last year. Just a month before, however, Ismail Haniyeh, the chairman of the Hamas politburo, also made an official visit to the country and dined with the king. Yet Sarah Feuer sees reason for optimism, especially now that the kingdom has reassurances that the Biden administration will continue the Trump-era policies that encouraged normalization:

On the day Haniyeh landed in Rabat, the king warmly congratulated Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on the formation of his government. Morocco has reportedly begun planning to upgrade its liaison office in Tel Aviv to an embassy, and on July 4 a Moroccan Air Force cargo plane landed at the Hatzor Air Base, reportedly to participate in a military exercise with the IDF. Seen in this context, Ushpiz’s visit, coming on the heels of a call between Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, injects additional momentum into the renewal of bilateral ties and offers an opportunity to begin translating a promising agreement on paper into more substantive policies in practice.

Where the normalization process goes from here will depend on both sides, but Israel can take steps to build upon Ushpiz’s visit and begin planting the seeds of a deeper, more sustainable bilateral relationship that can withstand external shocks such as the recent escalation in Gaza. The countries are reportedly set to launch direct flights, which will be a good start, but beyond encouraging tourism in both directions and more generally emphasizing the cultural links between the kingdom and Israeli Jews of Moroccan origin, Israel would do well to focus, quietly but methodically, on nurturing relations with Morocco’s business community.

For starters, the country is keen to gain access to Israeli technologies and investments, particularly those bearing on agriculture, which remains a dominant sector of the Moroccan economy. Likewise, a small but promising tech sector has emerged in the kingdom, where youth aged fifteen to twenty-four make up a third of the country’s population of 36 million and are keen to enter the global economy. As such, Jerusalem would do well to devise plans to demonstrate to this younger demographic sector that connecting to the Israeli high-tech ecosystem offers them one such entry point.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, Morocco, Yair Lapid


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University