UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (Oct. 27)
A lengthy statement on the situation of the Jews of Morocco, on emigration of Moroccan Jews to Israel, and on Morocco’s unilateral abrogation of mail service between that country and Israel, was made here today by Abdallah Ibrahim, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Morocco.
Dr. Ibrahim was a guest at a luncheon of the United Nations Correspondents Association. Presented with a comprehensive question by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he replied:
“First, one must understand the background of the status of the Jews in Morocco. I really don’t like to speak in terms of Jews or Moslems in Morocco, since we have really only Moroccans. In the entire history of Morocco there has never been a Jewish problem, not even in the Middle Ages. In times of persecutions elsewhere, Jews always received refuge in Morocco–as far back as the 13th Century.
“In the 16th and 17th centuries, Morocco’s diplomatic emissaries were Jews–a fact that can probably be explained because our relations were mainly commercial and Jews were experts in commercial affairs. We always placed confidence in them as citizens.
“These historical considerations must be borne in mind and it must be remembered that never were there any discriminations against Jews in Morocco. Even under the Vichy Government, Morocco categorically refused to implement the anti-Jewish laws of Vichy.”
SAYS JEWS GET EQUAL TREATMENT IN MOROCCO; EXPLAINS STOPPAGE OF MAIL
“After we achieved independence, we had to reorganize and modernize our administration, and replace many civil servants with Moroccans. However, access to administrative positions is open under equalitarian competition which do not mention Jew or Moslem. Our identity card does not mention either Jews or Moslems.
“Today there are few Moslems in our telecommunications–the majority in that service are Jews. When I was Minister of Labor my chief of cabinet was a Jew. Now an attache in my cabinet is a woman who is a Jewess. The economic counsellor until recently was a Jew. That is why I refuse to speak of Moslems or Jews–I speak only of patriots. The law is the same for everybody.
“When the law requires that sale or distribution of printed matter must be deposited in the National Archives, that law applies to everybody. The case of the Jew in Meknes comes under that law.” (A Jewish merchant in Meknes was recently sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and fined 125, 000 francs for possessing an Israel calendar.)
“As to emigration, our law is like that in many other countries. Our law prohibits mass emigration. If people organize for mass emigration, they fall under that law and we never ask them whether they are Jews or Moslems.
“As to postal relations, we are members of the Arab League and have ratified the Arab League convention affecting international relations. That is why we must observe our obligations as a state. It is in some way a result of the poisoned situation in the Middle East. The good will of the entire would benefit by the settlement of this problem.
“I regret that some organizations create propaganda and create difficulties. Morocco will never allow racialism which would be a denial of its historic tradition.”