Friday, May 14, 2010

US agrees to return Jewish archives to Iraq

The Bene Naharayim Iraqi synagogue, New York

It now appears that the story, as reported in the Algerian online magazine Ennahar, is true: the US has agreed to return the so-called 'Jewish archive' to Iraq. It's plainly a scandal: by what right does the Iraqi government claim documents that belonged to Jews - but were stolen under Saddam's rule? It is as if the present US administration is so anxious to distance itself from the invasion of Iraq ordered by GW Bush that it is prepared to disregard the rights of the archive's rightful owners, now largely living in Israel. (With thanks: bh)

BAGHDAD - Iraq is able to retrieve the archives of the Jewish community and millions of other documents that have been transferred to the U.S. following the invasion conducted in 2003, said Thursday in Baghdad, Vice-Minister of Culture Taher Hamoud.

"We have reached an agreement after negotiations with the State Department and the Pentagon for the repatriation of Jewish archives and millions of documents that have been made taken following the events of 2003," he said during a press conference on his return from the United States.

"These documents have been released from the Hoover Institution (at the University of Stanford), the State Department and National Archives and we have negotiated with them to develop a feedback mechanism," he said, without specifying the date.

According to him, 48,000 containers filled with millions of records and Jews archives were transported to the United States.

"The Jewish archives are very important because it is an essential part of our culture and they highlight the life of this community in Iraq," he said.

Read article in full

AFP article

Washington Post article

BBC skews discussion of Iraqi Jewish archive


victor said...

The Iraqi government treats archives a lot better than they treat flesh and blood human beings.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

giving the Jewish archives "back" to Iraq may be one of the Obama administration's ways of making friends with the Jewish community.

bataween said...

What Jewish community? There are only six Jews left. By rights the archive should go to Israel, where 90 percent of Iraqi Jews now live.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Bataween, I was trying to be sarcastic about Obama's "outreach" to the American Jews. He is doing his demagogic best to make vague, general promises about Israel in order to win American Jewish support, while actually acting in a hostile manner to Jews and Israel.

He says things like: We support Israel's security unconditionally. Meanwhile, Obama is trying to protect the Iran Bomb project. He and his minions also insinuate that an Iranian Bomb is of concern only to Israel and that the US would be doing Israel a special favor if it did anything to stop it.

I think that shipping the Iraqi Jewish archives to an Iraq where almost no Jews live is a very bad thing, a very bad, very unjust decision. It is diametrically opposed to any real respect for Jews. Rather, it seems to be part of his "outreach" policy toward Muslims, as exemplified in the ridiculous but sinister Cairo speech. Further, the decision seems to demonstrate not only contempt for Jews but ignorance of the history of the Jews in Babylon/Iraq and of the current state of attitudes toward Jews in Arab/Muslim lands.

bataween said...

Sorry to have taken your comment literally Eliyahu! You are so right about this current US administration. O seems given to sweeping demagoguic gestures (a la Chavez)in order to gain him instant brownie points with the Arab world.