CHICAGO (Oct. 31)
Some North African leaders in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco are attacking Israel and Zionism as a political tactic in domestic politics and to regain prestige in the Arab world, it was reported here today at the opening session of the four day meeting of the national executive board of the American Jewish Committee.
While not leveled against Jewish citizens or residents, these attacks “have helped create an accumulation of ill-will among Moslems toward their Jewish neighbors,” the report stressed. “The anti-Israel, anti-Zionist attacks,” the report stated, “demonstrated the continued proclivity of North African political leaders and political parties–even those considered moderate in the past–to use such tactics to discredit political opponents to bolster wavering popularity or to regain prestige with neighboring Moslem states and the Arab world.”
In the midst of the general instability in North Africa, marked by real and alleged plots to topple regimes, and by border hostilities, there have been renewed attacks on Israel and Zionism in all three North African countries: In Algeria, the authorities proclaimed the existence of an anti-Algerian “Israeli plot.” In Tunisia, Prime Minister Bourguiba has lashed out against Israel in messages to students; in Morocco, the Conservative opposition Istiqial party stepped up its propaganda against Israel and Zionism in a line that was followed by other Moroccan political elements.
The report stressed, however, that despite anxiety felt by the Jewish communities in the three countries, “the anti-Israel campaign appears not to have affected their basic security and fundamental rights.” The report said that of the 500,000 Jews who lived in North Africa 15 years, about 165,000 remain today. Recent mass migration has meant the disappearance of “Jewish communities which traced their history back for centuries.” There are today 130,000 Jews in Morocco, 30,000 in Tunisia and approximately 5,000 in Algeria.