Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Iraqi Jewish archive is set to go back to Iraq in 2018

STATE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCEMENT: U.S to Return Jewish Artifacts to Iraq, Despite Protests. The trove includes books, religious texts, photographs and personal documents looted during Saddam Hussein's regime, and then found by U.S. troops in 2003. (JTA via Haaretz).
A trove of Iraqi Jewish artifacts that lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to keep in the U.S. will be returned to Iraq next year, a State Department official said.

A four-year extension to keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the U.S. 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.

Rodriguez said the State Department “is keenly aware of the interest in the status” of the archive.

As the headline indicates, response to the decision has been mixed, but generally not very positive. I have expressed my own thoughts on the matter here and here and I have nothing to add.

We'll see what actually happens. It isn't over until it's over.

Further background on the story is here with links going back to the recovery of the archive in 2003.

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