(JTA) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed concern at what it described as a proliferation of expressions of anti-Semitism in Morocco.
Shimon Samuels, the center’s director of international relations, conveyed the concern Monday following the airing of videos from Sunday’s mass demonstration in Casablanca in support of Palestinians, which featured men dressed as haredi Orthodox Jews destroying a model of the Al-Aqsa mosque before being led as prisoners by armed men wearing kaffiyehs to a fake execution.
“These disturbing scenes come on the heels of other expressions of anti-Semitism we’ve seen in Morocco and may have a destabilizing effect not only in North Africa but among the Muslim communities in Europe, where Moroccans make up a large share of the population,” Samuels said.
He noted the presence in February of anti-Semitic literature such as Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and Henry Ford’s “International Jew” at Casablanca’s International Fair of Publishing and Books, which is billed as the most important book fair in the Arab world.
Samuels said he feared a worsening of anti-Semitic rhetoric in Morocco in view of the submitting in 2013 to the country’s parliament of two bills, yet unpassed, that would criminalize trade and other forms of exchange with Israel, as well as the publication by an anti-Israel organization of names of businessmen — many of them Jewish — who are said to have ties to Israel.
Moroccan authorities, Samuels added, “may wish to appease extremists by turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism.”