Tuesday 20 September 2022 – 13:20
The former director of the Casablanca book fair, Hassan Al-Wazzani, linked the denial of an Israeli visa to Palestine with positions in which he refused to withdraw books on the history of the Palestinian cause and the culture of occupied Palestine, claiming that they are “anti-Semites”.
This came after Hassan Al-Wazzani, a writer and former official from the Ministry of Culture, was preparing to attend the international book fair in the occupied Palestinian territories, in the face of repeated Israeli refusal, which he explained by saying: “Perhaps this is a way of disciplining me for getting into an argument while running the International Book Fair.” In Casablanca with the Simon Wiesenthal Center-Europe, which has always considered anti-Semitic exposure and issued lists of titles calling for its ban, including titles dealing with the history and heritage of Palestine and the biographies of leader Yasser Arafat and leader Abdel Qader Al Husseini.
Al-Wazzani revealed, in statements to Hespress, that visas had previously been granted to all the employees who were with him when he was director of the Directorate of Books of the Ministry of Culture, except for him, although he was the head of the delegation. .
He said: “I attended Palestine once, as a poet, but the ban was repeated again by denying me a visa.” He added that “the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation considered the International Book and Publishing Fair in Al-Bayda annually to be anti-Semitic, and they always published a statement and we published explanations.”
He continued: “They used to justify the matter by going to books like (Mein Kampf) (by Adolf Hitler), knowing that it is available in Europe, and mixing it in the same list with books on Palestinian heritage and history, and on Yasser Arafat, but everything anything related to the Arab-Israeli conflict was considered forbidden, and we responded in the book review committee present at the exhibition that we can omit (My Struggle), but we cannot omit anything related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israeli conflict.
Al-Wazzani added: “At the book fair, we were very keen that no book should call for hatred, through the exhibition committee, and that institution was deliberately insulting the image of Morocco, and the book management explained it. in more than one communication.
In this context, it is mentioned that Zohour Rahihel, the governor of the Museum of Jewish Cultural Heritage in Casablanca, had previously criticized, in a 2015 interview, the talk by the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation about what he considered “an increase in anti-Semitism in Morocco”. . “, in the context of the book fair and its attendees. Publications, saying: “It is unfortunate to hear such things and present hatred of Jews on the grounds that it is common public opinion”, while warning that Moroccans they are Semites, and cannot antagonize themselves.