Between 1948 and 1967, Morocco witnessed one of the largest demographic upheavals in its history. Within a short timespan most of its Jewish population left the country, leaving behind many voids and unanswered questions. However, and almost in inverse relation to the “dazzling absence” of the Jews, the study of this community in Morocco has reached an unprecedented peak over the past decade. This article addresses the condition of an absence of a community set against a growing number of studies about it, analyzing the perspectives of Moroccans on the Jews of their country as expressed in academic publications from the time of Moroccan independence (1956) to the present. The article traces the connections between the study of Jews in Morocco, and changes in local and global discourses and processes, as well as the ways in which the study of unique cultural expressions has been legitimized. It argues that beyond a clear connection between the study of Jews in Morocco and political processes and events, the research momentum on the subject is also based on a constant dialogue with previous conceptions of Jews and notions of Jewish antiquity. The article argues that “the Jew” of current historiography is a symbol: an integral part of a general nostalgia for Morocco’s past, also mobilized for reimagining a pluralistic Moroccan identity. Despite their almost complete absence from the country, Jews remain a component in the make-up of “Moroccan-ness”, becoming an ideological idea and practice, and a semi-therapeutic means for coping with the sense of loss caused by modernity.
|Translated title of the contribution
|“Bled ma-fihash Yahud ma-fihash Ta’arikh”: Exploring “Our Jews” in Morocco
|Number of pages
|Published - Mar 2020