A group calling themselves “Moroccan citizens united against incitement to kill Jews in Morocco” organized a petition to protest the anti-Semitic message of the “Al-Aqsa Intifada march,” a pro-Palestinian rally held on October 25, in the Moroccan city of Casablanca.
The pro-Palestinian rally drew international media attention for featuring men dressed as Orthodox Jews being led at gunpoint by masked men wearing keffiyehs.
Reportedly, the petition against anti-Semitism stated, “Even though it is of course every citizen’s right to publicly manifest their support for a cause that they consider just, it is obviously illegal to call for someone’s death because of their religious beliefs. ” The petition also noted that scenes from the protest are spreading fear among the Jewish community in Morocco and across the world. It reads in part, "Such anti-Semitic acts are a threat to the security and the safety of Moroccan Jews and a threat to [the principles of] co-existence in the country. It is also against values of pluralism and tolerance which are enforced by the supreme law of the Kingdom, which recognizes the Hebrew component as an essential part of the Moroccan identity.”
According to local Moroccan news sources, more than three thousand Moroccans already signed the petition, which called upon the Ministers of Interior and Justice to bring their attention to the rally, and hold accountable those responsible for its anti-Semitic scenes.
Mouna Izddine, a spokesperson for the group, which organized the petition, told a Moroccan newspaper, “The images reported by media outlets challenge the type of social example we are trying to provide for our children. As Moroccans, regardless of our faith, we want to live in peace and harmony.”
The violent anti-Semitic message of the pro-Palestinian march in Casablanca raised concern as well for the safety of the Jewish community in Morocco. Jews in Morocco have a rich history dating back thousands of years. They have enjoyed great support from the royal family, and Moroccan society has traditionally been relatively accepting of the Moroccan Jewish community.
The petition organizers provide a valuable learning opportunity about tolerance and the fight against anti-Semitism. By standing up against expressions of hate that target fellow Jews, under the guise of supporting Palestinians, those Moroccans who signed the petition send a clear message not only to their fellow Moroccan Jews but also to the world at large. Their message is loud and clear; voices of reason cannot be silent in the face of hate.