Algeria 1956

Appeal of the FLN to Our Israelite Compatriots

Source: Benjamin Stora, Les Trois Exils Juifs d’Algérie. Paris, Hachette, 2006;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike)

The National Liberation Front, which has led the anti-colonialist revolution for the past two years, feels that the moment has arrived when every Algerian of Israelite origin, in light of his own experience, must without any ambiguity choose sides in this great historic battle. The FLN, authentic and exclusive representative of the Algerian people, considers it its obligation to directly address the Israelite community and to ask it to solemnly affirm its membership in the Algerian nation. This choice clearly affirmed, it will dissipate all misunderstandings and extirpate the seeds of hatred maintained by French colonialism. It will also contribute to recreating Algerian fraternity, broken by the arrival of French colonialism.

Since the revolution of November 1, 1954 the Israelite community of Algeria, worried about its fate and its future, has been subject to various political fluctuations. At the last meeting of the World Jewish Congress the Algerian delegates, contrary to their fellows from Tunisia and Morocco, pronounced themselves, to our great regret, for French citizenship. It was only after the colonialist-fascist troubles of February 6, in the course of which anti-Jewish slogans re-appeared, that the Israelite community took a neutralist attitude. Following this, a group of Israelites of all conditions, most notably from Algiers, had the courage to undertake a clearly anti-colonialist action in affirming its reasoned and definitive choice for Algerian nationality. These people have not forgotten the colonialist-fascist anti-Jewish pogroms which sporadically occurred, leading up to the infamous Vichy regime.

Without going too far back in history, it seems useful to us to recall the time when the Jews, held in less consideration than animals, didn’t even have the right to inter their dead, the latter being secretly buried during the night wherever this could be done, due to the absolute prohibition against the Jews having any cemeteries. At precisely this period Algeria was the refuge and land of freedom for the Israelites who fled the inhuman persecutions of the Inquisition. Precisely during this period the Israelite community was proud to offer its Algerian fatherland not only poets, but consuls and ministers.

It is because the FLN considers the Algerian Israelites the sons of our Fatherland that it hopes that the leaders of the Jewish community will have the wisdom to contribute to the building of a free and truly fraternal Algeria. The FLN is convinced that the leaders will understand that it is their duty and in the interest of the whole Israelite community to no longer remain above the fray, to uncompromisingly condemn the dying French colonialist regime, and to proclaim their opting for Algerian citizenship.

Patriotic greetings. Somewhere in Algeria. October 1, 1956