The Jewish press hereand hereare enthusiastically reporting that the late King Mohammed V of Morocco has been posthumously honoured for ‘protecting’ his country’s 250,000 Jews during World War II. Some fact-checking is sorely needed, because the Moroccan Sultan actually signed every anti-Jewish decree presented to him by the Vichy authorities who ruled Morocco. For proof that Jews suffered persecution in Morocco between 1940 and 42, look no further than the fact that they have been declared eligible for ‘Holocaust’ compensation.
Peter Geffen of Kivunim addressing the audience at the Bnai Yeshurun synagogue ceremony. (Photo: Asher Krell)
The Jerusalem Post reports:
KIVUNIM, the Institute for World Jewish Studies honored the king with the first The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. – Rabbi Abraham Heschel Award, to mark the organization’s 10th anniversary.
The honor was presented to granddaughter Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco on Sunday at New York City’s B’nai Jeshurun synagogue as part of the group’s three-day conference to mark its milestone.
Kivunim is a gap-year program that sends Jewish students to 12 countries each year, including India, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Morocco.
During World War II, King Mohammed V kept the lives and property of the country’s Jews under his protection, and did not subject them to the Vichy Laws.
Later on, in response to anti-Jewish rhetoric in the wake of the creation of the State of Israel, Mohammed V warned Muslims not to hurt Moroccan Jews, reminding them that Jews had always been protected in Morocco.
Andre Azoulay, a Jewish advisor to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, said in a statement read on behalf of the king that: “Today, we need, more than ever, to ponder the lessons and relevance of this part of history in order to stand up more forcefully to the deadly aberrations of those who are hijacking our cultures, our faiths and our civilizations.
What is the truth about Mohammed V?
What role did King Mohammed V actually play? Point of No Return comments:
Surrounded by a group of Judeophobic advisers like the antisemite al-Mokri, it was probably remarkable that the King did not support Vichy more enthusiastically. Journalists from the Moroccan Tel Quel magazine reassessed the king’s role. ‘Just but powerless’, they concluded.
As the historian Michel Abitbol explains :
“People forget that real power lay with the Resident-general of the French protectorate ( Abitbol told Information juive – July/ Aug 2008 – Les juifs d’Afrique du Nord sous Vichy). The King kept the trappings of sovereignty, but had no way of opposing the French, unless he put his throne at risk, as he did in the early 1950s.
In the 1940s, however, the king had no choice but to countersign French edicts, such as the notorious 1930 Berber Dahir, a real blow against Islam, and the anti-Jewish Vichy laws. On the personal level, however, he was sympathetic to the many Jews in his entourage. But as the ‘statesman’, he was forced to sign. ”
It is not true to say that His Majesty (Mohammed V) managed to oppose the enforcement of the racist Vichy laws against Moroccan citizens of the Jewish faith.
Mohammed V signed every single anti-Jewish decree. There were decrees forcing the Jews back into their ghettos, instituting quotas or bans in higher education and restricting them in their professions. But he procrastinated on some, keeping them in a drawer unsigned for a month, and tried to reassure a Jewish delegation, who came to see him in an armoured truck, that the decrees meant nothing.