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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Abraham Serfaty Eulogized in JTA

JTA is starting a new blog called the Eulogizer. The first eulogy was dedicated to Abraham Serfaty and others. Hopefully we'll see something on El Maleh soon.

The Eulogizer: Holocaust survivor, Florida businessman, Moroccan dissident, Israeli firefighter

By Alan D. Abbey · December 20, 2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The Eulogizer is a new column (soon-to-be blog) that highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Learn about their achievements, honor their memories, and celebrate Jewish lives well lived with The Eulogizer. Write to the Eulogizer at Read previous columns here.

...Lifelong Moroccan dissident, anti-Zionist

Abraham Serfaty, a lifelong Moroccan dissident whose opposition to repressive governments led to exile and imprisonment, died Nov. 17 at 84, 10 years after returning to his homeland in safety.

Serfaty was born in Casablanca to a middle-class Jewish family originally from Tangier. He joined the Communist Party in 1944, returned to Morocco in 1949 after receving an engineering degree in France, and participated in the fight against French colonialism.

In 1952 he was arrested and exiled to France under house arrest by the colonial authorities for his role as a nationalist activist. He returned home in 1956, when Morocco became independent, and worked in high-level government positions until he was removed from office for showing solidarity with a miners' strike. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he collaborated on an anti-establishment magazine, which led to his imprisonment, torture and then exile.

In 1991, following a campaign that included appeals from Danielle Mitterrand, wife of the French president, Serfaty was released from prison after 17 years, but his Moroccan citizenship was revoked and he again was exiled to France.

King Mohammed VI pardoned Serfaty and reinstated his citizenship, and Serfaty returned home to a villa and a modest income in 2000. He was later appointed adviser to the Moroccan National Office for Research and Oil.

A Dubai newspaper called Serfaty "a thorn in the side of the authorities in Morocco, both during the days of the French protectorate … and, later, under the repressive reign of King Hassan II."

"Serfaty was an activist who dedicated his life first to the anti-colonial struggle and then against the anti-democratic regime of King Hassan II," Moroccan Human Rights Association vice president Amine Abdelhamid said.

Serfaty was an anti-Zionist Jew who demanded abolition of Israel's Law of Return and supported the creation of a Palestinian state. In one of his books, "Prison Writings on Palestine," Serfaty wrote that Zionism is a racist ideology. His other books included "Anti-Zionist Struggle and Arab Revolution" and "The Insubordinate: Jew, Moroccan and Rebel."

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