The 1948 Anti-Jewish riots in Oujda and Jerada, the latter also known as Djerada or Jṛada, occurred on June 7–8, 1948, in the towns of Oujda and Jerada, in the northeast of the French protectorate in Morocco.
In those events 43 Jews and one Frenchman were killed and approximately 150 injured at the hands of local Muslims.
French officials argued that the riots were "absolutely localized" to Oujda and Jerada, and that it had been "migration itself - and not widespread anti-Jewish animosity - that had sparked Muslim anger".
René Brunel, the French Commissioner for the Oujda region, stated that rioting began when a Jewish barber attempted to cross into Algeria carrying explosives. Brunel wrote that that atmosphere has "overheated" as a result of "the clandestine passage over the border of a large number of young Zionists from all regions of Morocco trying to get to Palestine via Algeria." The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that Jewish emigration from Oujda to Palestine was a significant irritant to the local Muslim population, noting that "It is characteristic that those in this region near to the Algerian border consider all Jews who depart as combatants for Israel." Alphonse Juin, Resident General in Morocco, noted that "the clandestine departure of Jews for Palestine ignited the anger already inflamed by professional agitators."
It has also been suggested that the riots were sparked by an anti-Zionist speech by Sultan Mohammed V relating to the ongoing 1948 Arab-Israeli War, although others suggest that the Sultan's speech was focused on ensuring the protection of the Moroccan Jews.
The riots began in Oujda, which was at the time the main transit hub for Zionist emigration out of Morocco, given its proximity to the Algerian border (Algeria was at the time part of Metropolitan France), in which 5 Jews were killed and 30 injured in the space of 3 hours before the army arrived. The mob riots in the neighbouring mining town of Jerada were even more violent, with 39 deaths.
At the time, Morocco was still a French colony, and the French commissioner for Oujda, René Brunel, blamed the violence on the Jews for leaving through Oujda and for sympathizing with the Zionist movement. The French League for Human Rights and Citizenship blamed the French colonial authority for their relaxed control in the area. Several officials from the local mining federation were tried in court for instigating the massacres and several were sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor, the others given lighter sentences.
The emigration of Jews out of Morocco to Israel quickly became a flood after the incident. 18,000 Moroccan Jews left for Israel the following year and 110,000 out of a total of 250,000 Jews in Morocco left between 1948 and 1956.
- ^ a b c Dalit Atrakchi (2001). "The Moroccan Nationalist Movement and Its Attitude toward Jews and Zionism". In Michael M. Laskier and Yaacov Lev. The Divergence of Judaism and Islam. University Press of Florida. p. 163.: "...the riots that broke out on 7 June 1948 in the cities of Oujda and Jerada, close to the border between Morocco and Algeria, which served as a transfer station for Moroccan Jews on their way to Israel... It is believed that the riots were brought on by the speech given a short while earlier by Sultan Muḥammad Ben-Yussuf, which inveighed against the Zionists and cried for solidarity with the Arabs fighting in Israel. Claims have been made that the French authorities not only knew about these impending events but also goaded and collaborated with the instigators as a provocation against the heads of the Moroccan Independence Party, who could later be blamed for committing murder."
- ^ Andrew G. Bostom (2008). The legacy of Islamic antisemitism: from sacred texts to solemn history. Prometheus Books. p. 160. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
- ^ Mandel 2014, p. 38: "Similarly, [French] officials argued against awarding international refugee status to Moroccan Jews, insisting that the 1948 riots in Oujda and Djérada had been "absolutely localized." It was, they warned, migration itself - and not widespread anti-Jewish animosity - that had sparked Muslim anger."
- ^ a b c d Mandel 2014, p. 28.
- ^ André Chouraqui (2002), "Between East and West: A History of the Jews of North Africa". ISBN 1-59045-118-X, "On May 23, 1948, scarcely a week after the proclamation of the State of Israel, the Sultan of Morocco made an appeal to his subjects in which he reminded them of the protection that Morocco had always accorded to the Jews. He asked the Jews to refrain from all Zionist manifestations, and the Moslem population to prevent any disturbance of the peace."
- ^ André Chouraqui (2002), "Between East and West: A History of the Jews of North Africa". ISBN 1-59045-118-X, "Finally, on June 7, the crowd, sparked off by a minor incident, poured into the Jewish quarter. In the three hours that passed before the army could control the mob, five people (including one Frenchman) had been killed, thirty had been severely injured, shops and homes had been sacked. The same night an even more serious riot occurred in the neighboring mining town of Djérada where the Jewish population, consisting of about a hundred souls, had been surrounded by an uncontrollable mob and attacked with outrageous savagery. Neither children nor old men were spared; thirty-nine Jews lost their lives, thirty were severely injured and others less severely so."
- ^ a b c Green, David B. (8 June 2014). "This Day in Jewish History / Anti-Jewish Rioting in Morocco Leaves 44 Dead". Haaretz. Retrieved 6 May 2020.