Radical Roads Not Taken: Moroccan Jewish Trajectories, 1925–1975

Alma Heckman
UC Santa Cruz

This book project explores Jewish involvement in the Moroccan Communist Party (PCM) between 1925-1975. It recovers how Jews and Muslims conceptualized Jewish citizenship in the Arab world against a backdrop of de-colonization and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. From the outset of the French and Spanish protectorates over Morocco in 1912 through independence in 1956, a variety of ideologies coalesced into pro-independence political movements Leftist groups flourished in Morocco beginning in the mid-1920s. When France fell to Germany in 1940, Vichy rule brought anti-Semitic legislation to the majority of North African Jews, inspiring many in the immediate post-war generation to reject France’s vision of republican assimilation. The national liberation parties of the Maghrib, in practice, if not on paper, often espoused an Arab nationalist platform informed by Islam. Betrayed by French republicanism and unconvinced by Zionism, many Maghribi Jews expressed their patriotism through Communism. The 1950s through the early 1970s were the apex of Communist Jewish political participation in the Maghrib and the height of migration to Israel or France. This project rehabilitates a “radical road not taken” among Moroccan Jews, often obscured by nationalist narratives. Special thanks to Jean and Jacques Lévy for providing the image.

The grantee would like to thank Jean and Jacques Lévy for their support.