The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. Interdependence, Modernity, and Political Turmoil

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166 · Dalit Atrakchi

they declared that they were anti-Zionists and anti-British, although they
were less verbal and practical than their idealistic brothers in a number
of other countries in the Arab Middle East.^15
During the period of Vichy rule in Morocco, 1940–43, the public’s at-
tention was focused on Europe and on the call for war. Almost all Zionist
activity came to a halt, anti-Jewish activities were hardly felt, and Nation-
alist activities came to a standstill as well. The leaders of the Nationalist
movement, headed by ̔Allal al-Fassi, were either in prison or in exile. A
sequence of events toward the end of the warfare in North Africa greatly
affected the relationship of the Nationalists with Jews and Zionism. The
first was the conquest of Morocco by American forces in the Lapid Opera-
tion in November 1943. Paradoxically, the end of the Vichy rule in Mo-
rocco led to a worsening of the condition of Moroccan Jewry after Moroc-
can Nationalists claimed that Jews had identified with the French Vichy
rule and had carried out their commands. Anti-Jewish riots, in which a
significant number of Jews were injured, occurred in Casablanca and in
other cities.^16
After the release of ̔Allal al-Fassi from prison in 1944, the establish-
ment of the Istiqlal as the unifying body of all nationalist streams in Mo-
rocco, and the foundation of the Arab League in March 1945, another ele-
ment was added to the prevailing anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist attitude:
total identification with the Mashreq, the brave fighters against Zionism.
The Arab defeat in the Palestinian War (1947–49) did not harm Arab soli-
darity in al-Fassi’s opinion. On the contrary:

In order to achieve solidarity within North Africa, we maintained
continued good relations with liberation movements—Arab and
others.... We proved our support many times.... When Arab
forces entered Palestine to release it from the Zionist groups, our
party organized a boycott on Zionists in Morocco.^17

Sultan Muḥammad Ben-Yussuf, in a speech delivered on 23 May 1948, as-
serted that Zionism must be fought, especially after the establishment of
the state of Israel less than two weeks earlier. In his speech, the sultan ex-
pressed “frustration by the fact of the very existence of Israel,” whose ex-
istence, he hinted, was one of the identifying focuses of Moroccan Jews.^18
He went so far as to camouflage his threat toward the Jews by warning
them, “lest they forget” their Moroccan identity and the protection he
gave them. Although he added that not all Moroccan Jews are Zionists

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