affirming that the Jews
would be treated as equals under the law, with
justice and impartiality, and that anyone
mistreating them would be prosecuted. Some
European consuls distributed this declaration to
Government officials, indicating their readiness
to protest any mistreatment of Jews.
As a result, many Moroccan Jews, particularly
those in Tangier, received protection from
European powers for service to their governments.
These "proteges" did not pay taxes and
were immune from prosecution. There might have
been 6,000 proteges in all of Morocco in 1890,
most of whom were Jews. The population resented
these Jews, a small minority of the Jewish
population, for opposing the Sultan and
supporting the Europeans.
In efforts to gain greater control over trade
with Morocco, the Europeans demanded legal
recognition for the privileges of their proteges.
The 1880 Madrid Convention increased the power of
the Europeans to name proteges. While this
benefited some richer Jews, the majority of
Moroccan Jews did not benefit.
The efforts of European powers to push the
Sultan's government into bankruptcy coincided
with criticisms by non-Moroccan Jewish
organizations of the treatment of Moroccan Jews.
In 1905, the US Government sent an investigatory
mission to Tangier to determine the validity of
claims by American Jewish organizations that
Moroccan Jews were being oppressed. The
researchers found that the Islamic regulations
restricting Jewish religious practices (dhimmi
regulations) had not been implemented since the
1870's. The head rabbi of Tangier asked the
Americans not to intervene on behalf of the
Moroccan Jews. At the 1906 Algeciras
Conference, US representatives ensured that
the Conference documents praised the Sultan's
Government for improvements in conditions of Jews
and asked it to guarantee to treat all Moroccans
The Algeciras Conference enabled the European
powers to divide up Morocco between the French
and the Spanish. In 1907, the French found a
pretext for full-scale invasion when a few
Europeans in Marrakesh and Casablanca were
killed. After 3,000 French troops occupied
Casablanca, the mellah was pillaged.
From 1907-1912, French and Spanish soldiers took
control of increasingly large areas of the
country. The French gained effective control over
Morocco with the signing of the Treaty of Fez in
1912, establishing the majority of Morocco as a
French protectorate. Spain was given control of
Northwest Morocco and in 1923, the city of
Tangier became an international zone.