Despite Protests , US State Department To Retrun Jewish Artifacts To Iraq

editor Thursday 14 September 2017 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email Printer friendly

By Josefin Dolsten/JTA.. Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to renegotiate the deal, arguing that the documents should be kept in the US or elsewhere where they are accessible to Iraqi Jews and their descendants. A four-year extension to keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the US is set to expire in September 2018, as is funding for maintaining and transporting the items. The materials will then be sent back to Iraq, spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement sent to JTA on Thursday (September 7, 2017).Rodriguez said the State Department “is keenly aware of the interest in the status” of the archive. [Photo top right: Detail of Tik (Torah case) and Glass Panel from Baghdad, 19th-20th centuries, part of the Iraqi Jewish Archive. (National Archives)].  “Maintaining the archive outside of Iraq is possible,” he said, “but would require a new agreement between the Government of Iraq and a temporary host institution or government.”

The archive was brought to America in 2003 after being salvaged by US troops. It contains tens of thousands of items including books, religious texts, photographs and personal documents. Under an agreement with the government of Iraq, the archive was to be sent back there, but in 2014 the Iraqi ambassador to the US said its stay had been extended. He did not say when the archive was to return. Read the full story.



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