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|André Azoulay (right) and Maga Ettori (left) in 2013.|
|Senior adviser to King Mohammed VI|
17 April 1941 |
André Azoulay (born 17 April 1941) is a senior adviser to King Mohammed VI of Morocco. He previously advised Mohammed's father, King Hassan II. He currently presides over the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures, based in Alexandria, Egypt. He is also President of the Executive Committee of the Foundation for the Three Cultures and the Three Religions, based in Seville, Spain, a founding member of the C-100 Davos Forum for the Dialogue of Civilisations and religions, and was formerly Executive Vice-President of the BNP Paribas, Paris.
According to Azoulay, "Moroccan Jewish memories are many centuries old. We know it has not all been rosy. There are black pages. But the Moroccan Jewish past has nothing to do with the history of the Jews during that same period in the West. In Morocco we have seen no deportations, no Nazism, no concentration camps and no Inquisition whatsoever. Rather, we have seen Jews and Muslims living together and respecting each other".
In the fall of 1976, André Azoulay took the lead in Paris in organizing Moroccan Jewish friends into a group that became known as "Identity and Dialogue," based upon the Sephardic Jewish history and culture that flourished in Morocco throughout the 500 years that have passed since the expulsion of Muslims and Jews from Spain. 'This Sephardic culture has, for a very long time, been neglected, unknown, and ill-known, and also often ill-treated in the Jewish world and in Israel itself, where it has long been considered as a kind of second-rate culture', Azoulay explains.
Identity and Dialogue's first concern, therefore, was to correct such negative images. Fifteen years later, he considers that the goal of recovering Moroccan Jewish identity has largely been met.
'I think that today all over the world, in the Jewish world in Israel, and on the Israeli political scene no one can deny the political, social and cultural reality of Moroccan Judaism. . . In recovering and defending their identity, Moroccan Jews have become stronger.'
Azoulay recalls that only 15 years ago, when Identity and Dialogue was set up, 'Moroccan Jews living in Israel would change their names to make them more French-sounding than Arab-sounding, and tell their neighbors that they had come from Marseilles or Nice, rather than 'confess' that they came from Casablanca or Marrakesh.' Because that is no longer the case, Azoulay says, his organization is no longer so concerned with the problem of identity.
What remains, however, is the issue of dialogue with the Arabs, the other reason for which Identity and Dialogue was set up 15 years ago. As a leader of a Jewish group, Azoulay felt that he should try to help Jews on the one hand, and Arabs and Palestinians on the other, come to know each other better. Since its founding, therefore, Identity and Dialogue has systematically promoted such cross-cultural communication. Azoulay self-identifies as an Arab Jew.
As a widely recognized professional in the fields of communication and public relations, Azoulay was ready for the job. Before leaving Morocco, he had worked as editor of the daily newspaper Maroc-Informations. Later, in Paris, he headed the public relations department of the Paribas International Bank.
Since 2003, he is the correspondent member for Morocco in the Real Academia de Ciencias Económicas y Financieras of Spain(Royal Academy of Economic and Financial Sciences). His admission speech was "Maroc-Espagne, Euro-Méditerranée: défis et enjeux d'un partenariat toujour en devenir".
In the Media
Azoulay appeared in the 2010 Channel Production's documentary film Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace in which he describes the role of King Mohamed V in saving the Jews of Morocco from Hitler, and later, how his son King Hassan II played a key behind-the-scenes role in securing the peace between Israel and Egypt in the 1970s.
- Fair or not? Al-Ahram Weekly.
- "Morocco king's Jewish aide urges Israel to adopt Saudi peace plan". Haaretz. Retrieved 2012-11-09.
- Azoulay, André. "Marruecos y España en el espacio euro-mediterráneo: desafíos y retos de una asociación siempre pendiente. <https://racef.es/es/discurso/marruecos-y-espana-en-el-espacio-euromediterraneo-desafios-y-retos-de-una-asociacion>
- Stern, Yoav (29 October 2008). "Morocco king's Jewish aide urges Israel to adopt Saudi peace plan". Haaretz.