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Oregon State University

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity

Abstract

A carrefour in various contexts, Morocco stands in a unique position between the Arab world and Israel for several reasons. The country is unique due to the historical presence of Judaism in the region that, over the years, became a Muslim-majority Islamic kingdom. The members of Morocco’s Muslim and Jewish communities coexisted for centuries, albeit with minor hurdles, as did the Muslims and Jews of Palestine. However, political events around the world in the twentieth century led to the rapid departure of Jews from their Moroccan homeland. Today, with so few remaining in Morocco, “Jew” often becomes synonymous with “Israel,” and as a result, relations between Moroccans–mainly Moroccan Muslims–supporting Palestine and their Jewish compatriots become tense. Despite this unfortunate reality, there are still many Muslims and Jews in Morocco who hope for peaceful relations to once again become more widespread. However, during a time when such efforts bring with them the risk of political categorization, stigmatization and silence, how do these movements seek to successfully counter the tensions caused in Morocco by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? This paper will examine some of the current efforts to encourage mutual understanding between Muslims and Jews in Morocco. By conducting interviews with leaders of peace-building movements, listening to past interviews with and speaking to members of the Jewish community that remains in Morocco, and reading literature discussing Morocco’s past involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict, I was able to connect these present-day efforts to Morocco’s historical role in peace-building between Israel and Palestine. I hope that this paper will begin to bring to light the potential for creative efforts to encourage widespread cooperation between two of Morocco’s most long-standing cultural communities.

Disciplines

Family, Life Course, and Society | Islamic Studies | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Religion | Sociology of Culture | Sociology of Religion