None of the five Jews who stood for the Moroccan parliamentary elections last week – including high-profile Maggie Cacoun– managed to win a seat, Marc Perelman of The Forward reports.
All the Jewish candidates declared fierce loyalty to the Moroccan state, saying they were campaigning as Moroccans first, and Jews a long way second. But off the record, The Forward found that antisemitism could have played a part in their non-election.
Also following the Moroccan election campaign was a certain wanted terrorist hiding from the Americans in the wilder reaches of Pakistan.
“The effects of this campaign have apparently reached far and wide. In a speech that Al Qaeda released last week, Osama bin Laden saidthat “the Jewish community in Morocco today is one of the largest communities in the world. They are alive with us, and we have not incinerated them.”
“Bin Laden had some of his facts wrong: Morocco’s Jewish community is hardly one of the largest — and even the campaign-trail picture of tolerance painted by ( Jewish candidate Susan) Abittan differs sharply from theaccounts of two Moroccan reporters who followed the race and spoke to The Forward on condition of anonymity. Locals to whom the reporters talked about the candidates consistently asked why foreign candidates had entered Morocco’s elections, or stated that voting for a Jew was against Islam. (My emphasis – ed)
“Abittan disputes this claim, stating that her 25 years of social work had earned the respect of local Jews and Muslims alike. She noted that an Islamist baker in her neighborhood had offered his support, and that one of the other Jewish candidates, banker Solange Cohen, ran in a well-known Islamist stronghold in Casablanca’s suburbs.
“We didn’t get the votes, because we started too late,” she said, “People, when they heard ‘Cohen,’ did not run away; they were curious.”