Morocco’s Islamists apologize for Jewish visitor, but not for Hamas politburo chief
CASABLANCA, Morocco — It’s not every day that an Arab government is forced to apologize for publicly embracing a pro-Palestinian peace activist. But Ofer Bronchtein’s peculiar offense is that he’s a Jew.
Long known as one of the Arab world’s most moderate states, Morocco stunned the world by electing the Islamist Justice and Development Party (known by its French acronynm "PJD”) last November. Since January when its leaders were sworn in, the PJD has been embroiled in a series of public fights over "Zionism.”
The latest uproar came after Moroccan newspapers showed photographs of Bronchtein, a former adviser to the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, smiling with PJD leaders including Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane. The two appeared at the PJD’s Seventh Congress, a triennial party conference, on July 14 in the Moroccan capital city of Rabat.
The episode reached its climax Monday as PJD’s own supporters forced the party to apologize for inviting Bronchtein, who founded and still leads the International Forum for Peace in Paris.
But no apology has come for the appearance of Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal at the same event.
During his speech, Meshaal said he is prepared to "die a martyr for Palestine.” Hamas is among 51 global organizations on the U.S. State Department’s "Foreign Terrorist Organizations List.”
The Tunisian newspaper Assabah Daily reported that Bronchtein had an historic meeting with Meshaal during the July 14 weekend, brokered by Prime Minister Benkirane himself.