Monday, May 05, 2014

Taking action on the Iraqi Jewish archive?

ARUTZ SHEVA: US Lawyer Urges Court Injunction to Save Iraqi Jewish Archive. American attorney says Jewish community does not need to wait until ancient archive is returned to Iraq to take action.
Speaking at a 31 March New York conference on the legal issues posed by the question of the Iraq-Jewish archive, American attorney Nat Lewin said that the community should not wait until the archive was returned to Iraq before taking action, insisting that the community would receive a sympathetic hearing in the US.


There is a precedent for cultural property to be returned to its owners: the Russian government was forced to return the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe's library to the international Hassidic organisation Chabad in New York. It had been seized by the Bolsheviks in 1917.

Nat Lewin, who has taken on numerous Jewish cases pro bono, represented Chabad in that instance. The Iraqi-Jewish archive was less straightforward, however, since there are multiple owners. Like the Chabad library, the archive was not valuable but represented the biography of the Iraqi-Jewish community.

It's complicated. Read on. Background here and links. Background on the Schneerson Library is here and links. It appears that there have been some developments in the latter story since my last post on it.