Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Fate of the Iraqi Jewish Archive

מוצש"ק פר' תולדות תשע"ד

Tonight, Simply Jews sent me a link to a petition to sign. The petition, followed by an explanation, reads as follows:

Don't Let the Jewish Archive Go Back to Iraq!
(AVAAZ Community Petitions)
August 17, 2013
"I call upon the US government NOT to return the Jewish archive to Iraq. To do so would compound the injustice done to the Jews of Iraq, whose property it was before they were robbed of it through a deliberate state policy of persecution and ethnic cleansing. The archive should be returned to its rightful owners and assured of proper care and conservation. We suggest it should go to Israel, where the greatest concentration of Jews of Iraqi descent are to be found. "

Why is this important?

Ten years after the US military found a trove of Jewish books, records and religious artefacts in the flooded basement of Saddam's secret police headquarters in Baghdad, the US government is preparing to ship it back following restoration.

The archive contains holy books, including a rare Bible from 1568, Torah scrolls seized from synagogues, and personal and community documents and records.

Iraq's government, however, is insisting that the archive go back to Iraq: it points out that the US interim administration (CPA) signed a memorandum in 2003 promising its return.

The archive must not be returned. 

Here's why:

*The archive does not belong to Iraq, but was stolen from private homes, schools and synagogues in the 1970s. It is the cultural property of the Iraqi-Jewish community. *According to Jewish law, sacred objects such as Torah scrolls must be entrusted to a living Jewish community.

*The Jewish community in Iraq is virtually extinct. Jews of Iraqi origin and their descendants now live outside Iraq - in Israel and the West.

*When there were Jews in Iraq, the modern Iraqi state showed only contempt for them and their heritage. It did its utmost to persecute and destroy its ancient, pre-Islamic Jewish community. From 140,000, the community has dwindled to five people. To return the archive to Iraq will be to compound a crime: returning stolen property to those who stole it.

*Iraq itself does not have the resources to conserve and store the archive safely.

*Iraq's Jews and their descendants, 90 percent of whom are in Israel, will be debarred from access to original documents and history if the archive returns to Iraq.

*The memorandum drawn up between the US CPA interim government and Iraq in 2003 was signed on a flawed premise: that the archive is part of Iraq's national heritage.

It is not. Unless we challenge this erroneous idea, the return of the Jewish archive sets a precedent for all Arab countries who seized the property of 870,000 Jews to claim back as their national heritage any confiscated items that might have left the country. Indeed these states can claim as their own the property of all oppressed communities. Web: 


Related Articles:
Fron Page: Why the Jewish Archive shouldn't go back to Iraq
Daniel Greenfield, August 26, 2013

Front Page:  Iraq wants Jewish Archive to prove ownership of the Tower of Babel
Daniel Greenfield, October 29, 2013

Schumer to Kerry: Jewish Archive ‘Should Not Be Returned’ to Iraq  
Zach Pontz, November 1, 2013

Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Although I certain agree with the principles set down in the petition, I do not believe in such petitions, no matter how "secure" they are.

John Kerry
U. S. Secretary
 of Snakes
The U. S. Government, and in particular, its Secretary of State John Kerry doesn't give a rat's tuchus for Jews, our property, our heritage, and certainly not our dignity. Neither will give a rat's tuchus about a petition. Sorry, but they just won't.

Furthermore, the U. S. Government will no doubt use its "signed agreement" as an excuse for carrying out the Jewish Archive's expected return to Iraq, if such a "signed agreement" has ever stopped it from doing whatever the heck it wanted before.

Iraq is the county whose newly formed, post-liberation government was quick to hand out compensation to every member of an oppressed minority group, claiming loss and suffering, caused by the regime of Sadaam Hussein,...except for one: Jews.

I still cannot figure this one out, especially since Jews had all of their proverbial i's dotted and t's crossed, on all of their documents which they smart enough to hang to. Gee, could it have been that they were applying from exile, Israel?

Iraq is just like every other Arab country. There are citizens, and there are citizens. Even before Sadaam Hussein, Iraq was just one more country oppressing and killing its Jews.

And so, it would nice for Jewish property to be returned to Jews, but I am too much of a realist to believe that it will ever happen, least not through a petition.
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