Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jewish bodies want US assurances on archive

Forty-two groups, led by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, have released a statement calling on the U.S. government to assure that the Iraqi Jewish Archive, which America plans to return to Iraq, would be protected and continually accessible to Iraqi Jewish communities around the world, JNS reports:

During treatment by the National Archives and Records Administration, a Babylonian Talmud from Vienna, dating back to 1793. The Talmud is part of what has become known as the Iraqi Jewish Archive. Credit: National Archives and Records Administration.

My comment: on closer reading the JNS report is a little misleading. While the covering letter to Kerry is vague ('the long-term care of this archive  and its accessibility must be assured), the attached statement calls for Torah scrolls in Iraq to be transferred to America. Citing Lithuanian and Czech precedents, it says: "it is inappropriate to return the Iraqi Jewish archive to Iraq."

JNS reports:

The U.S. National Archives is now displaying 24 out of 2,700 Jewish books and ancient documents that were recovered in the basement of the Iraqi intelligence ministry (Mukhabarat) during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The exhibit opened Nov. 8 and will run through Jan. 5, 2014.

According to an agreement the U.S. signed with Iraqi authorities, the collection—which became known as the Iraqi Jewish Archive—will be returned to the Iraqi government when its restoration is complete. But the Iraqi Jewish community says the Saddam Hussein government originally confiscated the materials from a synagogue in 1984.

On Tuesday, the Conference of Presidents called on Secretary of State John Kerry to “consult with representative bodies of Iraq’s expatriate Jewish community and officials before any further decision is made” on the archive.

Stanley Urman, executive vice president of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), previously told, “We believe the agreement [to return the archive to Iraq] is based on a flawed premise, that premise being that the archives are the property of the Iraqi government. Our question is—how did they get into the basement of the Mukhabarat?”

Read article in full 

Read letter and statement in full 

JPost article


Sylvia said...

I went through the list of prayer books (so far) and I see an important aspect of the controversy that no one has discussed yet: how remarkably similar were the communities structured from the Euphrates to the Atlantic ocean: Sephardim of the Castilian rite (K.K. is also Sephardic) plus the Toshavim with slightly varying customs from one town to another. Plus the Babylonian Talmud that we all have in common.

I have some of thos same prayer books from Livorno on my shelves (later reprints of course).

And what is the Baghdadi rite?

Whatever the outcome, I think younger generations of Iraqis will learn a lot from it, particularly on their identity.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

this statement by the Conference of Presidents and other bodies, is disgraceful. You talk about how Iranian Jews don't dare tell the truth about the Jewish condition in Iran. Well, from this statement that agrees with sending the Iraqi Jewish archive back to Iraq, we can sense that many of the so-called American Jewish leaders are dhimmis afraid to go against US govt policy. They would rather defend Obama's policy than stand up for Jewish rights.

bataween said...

I took a closer look at the letter and statement issued by the 40 Jewish groups and the JNS report does not quite do justice to it. Please see my comment above.