Friday, October 22, 2010

Israeli flag in Morocco causes consternation

Last week I mentioned that there were a number of protests over the participation of Israeli singer Yael Naim in the "Concert for Tolerance" in Agadir, Morocco.

Well, the vigilant Arabs have sniffed out other Israelis visiting that city,and they are not happy.

The Hespress Moroccan newspaper mentions that the Seventh International Congress on Cactus Pear and Cochineal was also held in Agadir this week, and it included an Israeli scientist who spoke on Tuesday (Noemi Tel-Zur on the scintillating topic of "Pitahayas: introduction, agrotechniques and breeding.")

Last June, the paper notes, an Israeli delegation participated in a conference on whaling, also in Agadir.

All of these events went off without a hitch, and it is to Morocco's credit that the complaints - while noisy - were contained. But it is harder for them to forgive what happened next.

Earlier this week, also in Agadir, one could see the scene in the picture on the right.

The occasion is the 16th World Junior Judo Championships, being held in Agadir - and Israel is participating.

Municipal officials were stunned at the Israeli flag being displayed publicly. They felt blindsided by the display, not even knowing that Israel was participating. Some prominent officials said that they would not attend the opening ceremony if the flag continued to be shown.

So the judo officials took the flag down a half hour before the ceremony, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.