Myth, History, and Realpolitik: Morocco and its Jewish community (JMJS)

Principal Research Fellow Dr. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman and Junior Researcher Samir Ben-Layishi explore the history of the Jews of Morocco.

This article is an analytical overview of the history of Moroccan Jewry, from pre‐Islamic times to the present day, exploring the themes of myth, memory and political interests in the multi‐faceted, continuous interactions between the community and Moroccan society as a whole. In referring to seminal developments in Moroccan political history, it analyses the different ways in which the Jews of Morocco experienced them as an integral part of the larger societal mosaic. This survey of the 2,000‐year Jewish presence in Morocco employs a variety of classical and modern sources in order to locate the place of Moroccan Jews within the ebbs and flows of Moroccan dynastic history, particularly following the establishment of the first Islamic dynasty in the eighth century, C.E. It also engages with current historiographical debates on the subject matter. Overall, it provides clarity and order to the subject of Jewish–Muslim inter‐communal relations in Morocco over the longue durée, a matter too often shrouded in myths and half‐truths.