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Making MoroccoColonial Intervention and the Politics of Identity$
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Jonathan Wyrtzen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700231

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700231.001.0001

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Negotiating Morocco’s Jewish Question

Negotiating Morocco’s Jewish Question

(p.179) Chapter 6 Negotiating Morocco’s Jewish Question
Making Morocco

Jonathan Wyrtzen

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how the Jewish religious minority, caught in the colonial political field between competing pressures, faced the choice of assimilating into French culture, emigrating to Palestine, or staying and struggling for Morocco's independence. It first considers the impact of colonial intervention on the cultural identity and economic and legal status of Morocco's Jews before exploring how the Jews' ambiguous position made their status a focal point of state- and society-based identification processes, both inclusive and exclusive, in the colonial political field. It also discusses internal identification struggles within Moroccan Jewish communities caught between three competing identity claims: France's attraction through linguistic and cultural assimilation coupled with the elusive promise of legal naturalization; Zionism's claims to their loyalties on the basis of Jewish political nationalism and, for many, religious messianism; and Moroccan nationalists' appeals for them to be faithful to their Moroccan watan, or homeland.

Keywords:   colonial political field, Palestine, Morocco, independence, colonial intervention, Jews, identification processes, France, Zionism, nationalism

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