Thursday, December 19, 2013
Iraqis make PR out of fragments burial
The burial ceremony of 49 parchments at the Montefiore cemetery, Long Island, NY (with thanks: Gina)
Iraq has embarked on a PR offensive following the burial of the 'pasool' Torah parchments in a New York ceremony. Below is the full text of a press release issued by the Iraqi embassy in the US. The Iraqis are anxious to show that the archive is Iraq's property. Allowing the ceremony to take place is a magnanimous gesture and evidence of their practising 'democracy' and pluralism - proof of the 'new Iraq'. In truth, Iraq's constitution, which stipulates equality for all regardless of religion, does not mention the Jews*, while antisemitic incitement remains rife.
"The Government of Iraq announces the burial of 49 Torah scroll fragments, which were part of the Iraqi Jewish Archive collection currently in the United States, in cooperation with the Iraqi Jewish community presented by the World Organization of Jews from Iraq. The burial under Jewish ritual custom took place on December 15, 2013 at the New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon, New York. The fragments were interred at the cemetery through a religious service ceremony, which was attended by Ambassador Lukman Faily, other Iraqi officials, and officials from the U.S. Government.
"Today, Iraq marks another milestone of practicing democracy by approving the proper handling of these fragments and the disposal of its sacred texts, which were no longer viable for religious purposes, and welcomed the opportunity to undertake this good will gesture and cooperate with the Iraqi Jewish community on this important endeavor.
"Iraq’s new constitution stipulates that all Iraqis are equal in their rights without regard to sect or religion. The Iraqi Jewish community, like other communities in Iraq, played a key role in building the country; it shared in its prosperity and also suffered exile and forced departure because of tyranny. The Government of Iraq also appreciates the support of the U.S. Department of State and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on this matter and for their continued contribution to the preservation of the entire Iraqi Jewish Archive.
"The Iraqi Jewish Archive is a collection of books, manuscripts, and records in Hebrew and Arabic languages, found by the Coalition Forces in 2003 and salvaged from a flooded basement in Al Mukhabarat building in Baghdad after the fall of the regime. The Archive is Iraq’s property (my emphasis - ed) and was brought to the U.S. under an agreement for preservation, conservation, and exhibition."
Iraqi officials attend fragments burial
*only five Jews remain in Iraq