Last year, JIMENA protested an agreement that the U.S. reached with Libya, saying it did not exclude Jewish artifacts. The State Department later told JTA that certain Jewish artifacts were exempt from the deal. Earlier this year, the organization fought to keep an archive of tens of thousands of Iraqi Jewish documents and artifacts discovered in 2003 by U.S. soldiers from being returned to Iraq (the fate of the archive is still undecided).(The bold font and italics are mine.)
At the beginning of October, I noted that the September deadline for the return of the archive to Iraq had passed and I asked for any news about it. There was none.
Sometimes the story is the absence of the story. Sherlock Holmes's dog that did not bark in the night. This looks like one of those cases. Until today, "Iraqi Jewish archive(s)" has produced nothing new in Google News searches. The State Department and White House websites are silent. Now, finally, we have an unsourced hint that "the fate of the archive is still undecided."
I don't know whether JTA has information or they are drawing an inference. But I have been drawing the same inference. The silence in the news sounds as though the archive is still in the United States and the negotiations with Iraq still continue. I say that because if the archive had been returned to Iraq, that would have been news and it would have been covered.
I emphasize that all this is inference. I don't have any actual information, unless the JTA comment counts as information. I think the inferring is sound, but your mileage may differ.
If anyone has actual information on the current location and status of the archive, I would be grateful if you would share it with me.
For past PaleoJudaica posts on the Iraqi Jewish archives, going back to their discovery in 2003, start here and follow the links. I have given some of my own thoughts on the situation at the links here.
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