Monday, 21 January 2013

Don't try it on with me re ethnic cleansing in the Middle East and North Africa

This morning I posted a comment to my piece on ethnic cleansing in the Middle East and North Africa. The original article ran thus:
'The brainwashed and the haters of Israel are often heard to scream that Israel is ethnically cleansing  Palestine. That is of course a lie, the Arab Muslim population of Israel has increased five fold over the last 60 years, the Jewish by less than half that rate,. The population of the Palestinian territories has also expanded at a faster rate than the world average. However there is one population in the Middle East and North Africa that has almost disappeared over the last 60 or so years...

...The Jewish population.

So where's the ethnic cleansing happening and who's carrying it out?'

The comment I received and posted ran thus:
mikhail Oumarov said...
il y a beaucoup de juifs qui vivent en Algérie (plus que 28 peut etre 10 000 au minimun ) tandis qu'au maroc ils sont au moins 500 000 il faut arrêter les mensonges habituelles , toutes personnes qui connait l'Afrique du nord ne pourra tomber dans une propagande aussi grotesque
In case your French is not as good as mine, here's a rough translation (please correct me if I am wrong):
'There are many Jews living in Algeria (more than 28 may be at minimum 10 000), while in Morocco they are at least 500,000 must stop the lies usual, all persons who knows North Africa will fall in a grotesque propaganda'
Was I lying? Let's look at Wikipedia:
Algeria - Following Algerian independence in 1962, almost all of Algeria's Jews, having been granted French citizenship in 1870, left with the pied-noirs. The vast majority moved to France, and the rest moved to Israel. Those who remained resided mostly in Algiers, while some settled in Blida, Constantine, and Oran.

In the 1990s, the trials of Algerian Civil War led to the emigration of most of the remaining Jews. Two decisive events were the rebel Armed Islamic Group's 1994 declaration of war on all non-Muslims in the country, and the abandonment of the Algiers synagogue that year.
Here's Point Of No Return - the Jewish refugees blog:There are almost no Jews left in Algeria: the last Jewess assisted by the Joint Distribution Committee, Mrs Esther Azoulay, passed away in July 2011, bringing to a close the JDC's programme in that troubled country, its CEO Steve Schwager writes. Before 1962, Algeria had 160,000 Jews. There may still be a handful left surviving without assistance 

The story of the final desecration/destruction of the last remaining synagogue in Algiers in 1988 makes stomach-churning reading even today. The damage done was so extensive that the synagogue, now in ruins, had to be permanently closed. By the end of the eighties, only 94 Jews remained in the country.

In the mid-1990’s the assassination of two Jews in Algiers marked the end of an era.

JDC remained a pillar of strength, providing assistance to those who needed help even as the community continued to shrink.

Since 1985, Line Meller, then living in Algiers, served as JDC’s liaison with the remaining Jews of Algeria.On our behalf she helped to assure the welfare of a small number of aged and impoverished Jews, who continued to receive cash assistance from JDC until they passed away.

Although JDC could not redeem these unfortunate Jews from their suffering since they did not want to emigrate, the work that JDC did kept them alive. JDC enabled Line Meller to light a candle in a black hole of darkness.

In 2010, Mr. Messaoud Chetrit, 82-years-old and the last Jewish man still living in Oran, passed away. A delegation of Jews came from France to ensure that he was buried according to the traditional Jewish ritual in the very cemetery of Oran where he had been the final caretaker.

And that brings us to the last Jew in Algeria assisted by JDC, Mrs. Azoulay, who had a very difficult life. In 1992, her case came to the attention of JDC, which from that point on provided her with regular cash assistance. Over a period of two decades, this JDC aid enabled Mrs. Azoulay to pay for all the medical care she needed for her multiple ailments. But perhaps what she treasured most about this JDC connection was the reassurance it gave her that she had not been forgotten by her people.

How about Morocco?

In 1948, approximately 265,000 Jews lived in Morocco. Around 2,500 live there now, mostly in Casablanca, but also in Fes and other main cities.


As of 2004, Marrakech had an aging population of about 260 Jews, most over the age of 60, while Casablanca has between 3,000 to 4,000 Jews. Meanwhile the State of Israel is home to nearly 1,000,000 Jews of Moroccan descent, around 15% of the nation's total population.

Here's Point Of No return: 'Until Morocco became a French protectorate in 1912, the Jews had limited legal rights. They were confined to the mellah; they could not own property. They were periodically massacred (According to Wikipedia, 400 were killed in Tetuan in 1859)and subject to forced conversion.


lmost as soon as Morocco became independent Mohammed V played off political parties against each other and kow-towed to the Arab League. When the leftwing of the Istiqlal party rose to power the Jews were thrown into a panic. The Jews became the scapegoats of choice. Adopting anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist measures to please the Arab league, postal links between Morocco and Israel were cut. The ephemeral Jewish postal minister ceased to exist. Certain senior Jewish civil servants found themselves in disgrace and a numerus clausus (quota) was introduced for Jews in public service. Jews were refused passports, forcing them to emigrate illegally.

Things got worse after the Arab League meeting in Casablanca in 1959. The police set out in hot pursuit of those Jews who wished to leave Morocco. All escape routes were blocked. Those Jews who were caught trying to escape were thrown into jail and tried for 'jeopardising state security'. And so Zionism became a crime. A Jewish notable in Meknes was brought to court for owning a Keren Kayemet (Jewish National Fund) calendar. Another was arrested and beaten for wearing a blue and white kippa while praying in synagogue. All charitable and social institutions were suspected of Zionism.


The exodus of Moroccan and Tunisian Jews extended over a long period, beginning in 1947 -8 following the creation of Israel, dipping in 1953 when Israel was in the grip of a serious economic crisis, peaking in 1956 - 7 when Tunisia and Morocco became independent. Emigration was officially banned between 1958 and 1960 but took place illegally and at great risk. In 1961 and 1962, 70 percent of Jews left when the ban was lifted. The remaining Jews left after the Six Day War. Only some 3,000 remain.' 

 So mikhail Oumarov it looks as though you were correct, I did make a mistake with that graphic. There are in fact not 6,500 Jews left in Morocco but around 3,000. As for Algeria, figures I have seen vary between none and maybe a hundred, so that figure of 28 seems plausible. 

So who's lying?

1 comment:

Mourad said...

Je m'excuse de n'a pas poster en anglais mais comme j'ai cru comprendre que l'auteur maîtrisé cette langue, donc je me permet de le faire en français.
Tout d'abord il ne faut pas se voiler la face, l'antisémitisme existe au Maghreb (même si les arabes sont aussi sémites) vis à vis des juifs bien que ces dernières années on tend à faire la différence entre israélites et sionistes. Ce type de sentiment est clairement affiché dans le monde arabe par les partis d'extrême droite conservateurs dit plus communément islamistes. Ces derniers, comme tout bon partis extrémistes qui se respectent, jouent sur les peurs des populations et amplifient des faits divers pour en faire tout un scandale qu'on généralise à tout un groupe (religieux, ethnique ou régional selon le besoin).
Maintenant, pour ce qui est des juifs d'Algérie, personnellement je n'en connais pas mais j'en suis sur qu'il en reste. Ces derniers doivent vivre dans le secret étant donnée ce qu'à vécu l'Algérie durant les année 90. Mais de la à donner des chiffres, je ne m'aventurerais pas dans ce genre d'entreprise.
Le nombre de séfarades ayant quitté l'Algérie à été une grande perte pour l'Algérie mais disons que l'histoire moderne de ce pays jeune à été très mal abordée et les algériens le découvriront en revoyant leur histoire avec plus de recul et moins d'interférences idéologiques.
Pour finir, je ne vois pas pourquoi parlés t on dans l'article de nettoyage ethnique, le problème israélo palestinien est un problème de colonisation. Israël fait partie aujourd'hui des derniers pays coloniaux dans le monde ne respectant pas la charte de l'ONU ainsi que plusieurs résolutions de cet organisme qui lui a pourtant donné vie.