The Shameful Propagation of Anti-Semitism by Algerian Media on Holocaust Memorial Day | Opinion

Moroccan Football Star Hakim Ziyech Pictured on the right. Photo Credit: Moroccan World News

February 8, 2021

On January 29th, Algerian state-supported media once again took the opportunity to bash Moroccan peace efforts, this time by perpetuating anti-Semitism through Holocaust denialism on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. By promoting injustice to the Jewish people, propagating unrestrained anti-Semitism, and continuing to thrive off of the intergenerational hatred of the Jewish State, Algerian state media seeks to destabilize and thwart those who choose a better path.

The news outlet in question – Ennahar TV – an Arabic language satellite television channel in Algeria, has a history of anti-Semitic reporting that has largely gone unnoticed outside of Algeria. On January 29th, 2021 Ennahar TV shared a picture of Moroccan football star Hakim Ziyech, a player for Chelsea FC, with his teammates holding a sign reading #WeRemember for International Holocaust Memorial Day. The picture was part of Chelsea FC’s Say No To Anti-Semitism campaign. In an article, Ennahar TV called Ziyech’s participation in the Holocaust memorial a “scandal.”

To commemorate the Nazi genocide against the Jewish people, was a scandal in the eyes of Ennahar TV – broadcasting this message to potentially millions of Arabic speakers across the region. In doing so, Algerian media turned a message of tolerance on behalf of the Moroccan football star into yet another attempt to slander Morocco for its recent peace efforts with Israel.

Screenshot of Ennahar TV article taken on January 30.
Credit: Moroccan World News

Unfortunately,  the anti-Semitic undertones in Algerian media often refer to the Holocaust as a “hoax,” created by Jews to earn sympathy for the Zionist cause in establishing the Jewish state. Sadly, as Moroccans and Jews open a new era of tolerance, Algeria continues to nourish anti-Jewish prejudice.

Algeria. like Morocco, was once home to a vibrant and ancient Jewish community, comprising about 140,000 people. The entire Algerian-Jewish population fled the country during the independence era. Today there are virtually no Jews in Algeria – nor any existing cultural ties, i.e., communications or travels with the Algerian Jewish community or Israeli counterparts.

As the military dictatorship in Algeria seeks to continually dehumanize Morocco and Israel in light of the re-establishment of diplomatic ties, Algerian media has been given the green light to broadcast anti-Semitic ideas as long as it promotes the state-run agenda.

My hope as an advocate for the Abraham Accords is that neighboring countries like Oman, Tunisia, and others will join my native country of Morocco in making peace with Israel. By broadening the circle of the Abraham Accords, the region has an enormous opportunity to promote coexistence and create a better future. Countries that reject the paradigm shift taking place in the region, will continue to allow radical and hateful behavior to flourish within their borders and beyond.

Walid Tamtam is a Canadian Muslim of Moroccan descent and a student at New York University. He is committed to bridging community gaps and encouraging interfaith dialogue to spur social, political, and economic progress in the Middle East and North Africa. By highlighting often overseen issues and advocating for regional peace and security, he hopes to see a region that embraces Israel and its values as a blessing, not a scapegoat.

Category: Contributor Op-Eds