Prominent figures in Morocco’s Amazigh movement said religious hate speech against Jews and dominating Arab nationalism have significantly influenced their decision to distance themselves from ongoing solidarity demonstrations with the Palestinian cause, despite their principled support for the Palestinians’ right to an independent state.
Amazigh intellectual Ahmed Assid said the Amazigh perspective is shaped by the movement’s reservations about various ideological framings of the Palestinian issue. They reject the discourse of Arab nationalism, which identifies Palestine as an “Arab issue,” as well as the Islamist discourse that portrays the issue in religious terms. Instead, the Amazigh viewpoint regards the Palestinian matter as a humanitarian and political concern, distinct from Arab or Islamic identity.
The movement “has reservations about the Islamists’ discourse on Palestine and rejects it because it considers the issue to be religious and confuses the Jews with Israel,” he told MoroccoLatestNews AR.
The Amazigh movement has since 2002 not to participate in solidarity marches associated with slogans of Al Adl Wal Ihsane and the Arab nationalist left.
Assid said the momement’s objections are primarily against the ideological overlays applied on the Palestinian issue rather than the issue itself. They disapprove of rhetoric that promotes religious hatred or links the Palestinian cause with Arab identity.
‘This is an exploitation of the Palestinian march in order to pass on religious hate speech toward the Jews (…) We also do not accept those who talk about ‘Arab blood’ boiling in Rabat in solidarity with Palestine, because this is also riding on the issue to pass racist speech against the essential components of national identity.” .
Their focus is on rejecting occupation and supporting international agreements protecting civilians during armed conflicts.
Professor of contemporary Moroccan history at Mohammed V University, Mostafa Kadiri, added that ambiguity regarding the intent of the demonstrations have further pushed the Amazigh momenet from participating in marches. “Those who wonder why Imazighen did not go out for solidarity demonstrations did not explain to us who should be in solidarity with: Is Hamas against Israel, Hamas against the Palestinians, Abbas against Hamas, or who exactly?” he told MoroccoLatestNews AR.
The researcher in Amazigh culture recorded that “the Amazigh, in turn, remain far from conflicts taking place between Arabs and Jews in a distant region called the Middle East,” considering that “what seems to have put the Amazigh movement at a distance from what is happening is that the Palestinian issue has been cloaked in destructive ideological cloaks related to Arabism and nationalism.” Arabic, in a way that began to creep even into Morocco and directly affected the national Amazigh identity.”
Kadiri said Morocco historically had no direct involvement in the Israel-Palestine conflict, but Nasserist nationalist thought drew several countries into a conflict that was distant from their immediate interests. Despite their historical opposition to groups like Hamas and the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was aligned with the Polisario and posed a challenge to Morocco’s territorial integrity, the Amazigh movement continues to stress the importance of finding peaceful solutions.