Moroccan Islamists object to screening of film on Jewish exodus

(JTA) — Some 200 demonstrators gathered outside a theater in Morocco to protest the screening of a film about Jewish immigration to Israel.

The demonstrators in front of the Roxy Cinema in Tangier on Sunday were mostly Islamists, according to the French daily Liberation, and were protesting the film “Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes of the Mellah” by the French-Moroccan producer Kamal Hachkar. The film tells the story of the Jews of a small Berber village in Morocco and their departure for Israel during the 1950s and 1960s.

The protesters shouted slogans against “normalization” with Israel and Zionism.

Morocco’s minister of communications, Mustapha Khalfi, who also is the spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party, declined to comment on the protest, but Tangier Mayor Fouad El Omari said at a ceremony before the screening that “censorship is a real danger for art, especially when it is based on a narrow-minded ideology,” according to Ya Biladi, a Moroccan news site. 

More than 250,000 Jews lived in Morocco prior to 1948, the year the State of Israel was founded. The community today is estimated to number approximately 3,000.

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