Israel’s allegations against Morocco are unjust and run counter to the secretary of WJC’s assertions.
By Mohammed Amine Benabou
Rabat – In January, an Israeli minister said Israel will demand compensation from Arab countries for the possessions the Jewish community living in Arab countries left behind after immigrating to Israel in the late 1940s.
Commenting on Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel’s remarks saying Arab countries should compensate Israel, the president of the Canadian Sephardi Federation, Avraham Elarar, asserted that Moroccan Jews who emigrated were not fleeing the kingdom.
The recompense Israel will demand is estimated at $250 billion from Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and Iran. The Israeli Ministry of Social Equality intends to file lawsuits against Tunisia for $35 billion and Libya for $15 billion for the lost and abandoned belongings of Jews in Arab countries.
“The time has come to correct the historic injustice of the pogroms in seven Arab countries and Iran, and to restore, to hundreds of thousands of Jews who lost their property, what is rightfully theirs,” Gamliel said.
Elarar defended Morocco, referring to a statement from the political secretary of the World Jewish Congress, Alexander L. Easterman, at the Fourth General Assembly of the World Jewish Congress in 1959, who said, “Morocco discouraged its Jewish community from leaving the country.”
Elarar disagreed that Jews fleeing Morocco were refugees: “To claim, however, that the Moroccan Jews who [immigrated to Israel] were refugees denigrates them by distorting the historical facts and denies that they were ardent Zionists.”
He wrote that Israel has “unjustly accused” Morocco, equating it to other countries, like Egypt, which not only confiscated the property of their Jewish community but also repealed their nationality.
Israel’s demand for compensation is not unprecedented. Israeli columnist Gideon Levy wrote in September 2018 in the Israeli news outlet Haaretz that “while Israel avoids paying any compensation for its systematic destruction and killing in the Palestinian territories since 1948, there are those who still have the unbelievable audacity to demand compensation from the Palestinians.”
In January, more than 80 Moroccan intellectuals, researchers, artists, and actors launched an online petition in disapproval of and outrage over Israel’s “Zionist manoeuvers” and its “distortion of Moroccan history.” They added that this “demand lacks credibility when we recall the history of different stages of Jews immigration.”