Morocco becomes the first Arab state to include the Holocaust in its educational curriculum, making a turning point in what some observers call “shifting Arab perspectives”. Moroccan Education Minister Said Amzazi said to Le Desk, a Moroccan news website, that anti-Semitism is the “antonym of freedom of expression. It manifests the negation of the other and is an admission of failure, insufficiency and the inability to coexist.”
“This is the anachronistic return to a mythical past. Is this the past that we want to leave as a legacy for future generations?” Mr. Said Amzazi asked and added that “for all that, the battle against this plague cannot be handled carelessly. It is fought neither with the military nor with money; it above all depends on education and culture. This battle has a name: education. And in the interest of our children, it is important for us to win it because they will be the beneficiaries and our ambassadors in the future”.
Israel’s Michael Oren, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, praised the decision, tweeting that Morocco’s King Muhammad VI sent a profound moral message to the world. Amidst rising anti-Semitism and the Holocaust denial in the West, “the leader of a proud Arab country is introducing Holocaust education into Moroccan schools with the goal of fighting anti-Semitism. There is indeed hope,” he tweeted.
Back in 2008, Rabat tried to introduce the Holocaust and the Jewish-Moroccan history into its educational system but didn’t have a concrete plan. This time around, the Moroccan educational authorities have begun to collaborate with the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to develop an appropriate curriculum that includes not only Holocaust but also racial hatred. In general, across the Arab world, the Holocaust is seen as part of the conflict with Israel and not a historical event in itself. This led to various views on the Holocaust including total and “soft” denials or the Holocaust being some kind of variable in the equations between Zionism, Judaism, Nazism and between Israel and Germany.