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Friday, April 27, 2012

Documentary (by a Muslim) shows Jews from Morocco to Israel

From the website of the Sephardic Film Festival last month:

TINGHIR-JERUSALEM, ECHOES FROM THE MELLAH: The Rediscovery of a Judeo-Berber Culture

Director: Kamal Hachkar
Kamal Hachkar grew up in France with the idea that all Berbers were Muslims. From his grandparents he learns that some Berbers were Jewish and that in many villages, Muslims and Jews lived together for a long time. His search leads him to Israel where he meets families originally from Tinghir.  Elders spoke of  their lives in Tinghir, answering many of his questions.  On meeting Jews of his generation, with origins in Tinghir, Kamal realizes that he is not alone in his desire to restore this buried part of their identities.  He hopes that his generation will be able to acknowledge the bonds broken by history.
Morocco's Hespress interviewed Hachkar. He seems to be a true man of peace, who wants ties between Muslims and Jews to improve. Part of his target audience is Moroccans who are not even aware of the vibrant Jewish culture that existed there not so long ago. The film has been shown in festivals in the US, Montreal and Rabat, Morocco, where Hachkar ways it was well received.

The interviewer asked Hachkar about some Moroccans who are criticizing the film as a means of "normalization" with the Zionist enemy and who called for an investigation of the issue. His answer was simply that they were racists, that Jews are as much a part of Moroccan culture and history as anyone else, and that they are a minority as he has received great feedback from Moroccans who saw the film.He also implied that the Jews in the film love Morocco more than these loudmouths, whom he said probably ignore the real human rights issues in Syria.

He wants to make a sequel where he brings some of the Jews back to Tinghir.

Here is a 5 minute portion of the documentary with English subtitles:



The entire documentary is online, with French subtitles. I understand that there is an English subtitled version that was shown at the film festival.