Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Iraq Cuts Arts Ties to the US over Jewish Artifacts

America's refusal to turn over Jewish artifacts recovered from Iraqi archives has caused that country to cut archaeological cooperation with the United States. I wrote about the dispute in more detail here, but basically there are three major elements:

First, the possibility that Jewish artifacts in Iraq won't be safe due to anti-Semitic pressure in Iraq. Second, the possibility that preserving and displaying such artifacts in Iraq will play an important role in humanizing Jews to Iraqis and reminding Iraqis of the long and vibrant Jewish history there prior to their effective expulsion in the wake of Israel's Independence. And third, the interests of the Iraqi Jewish community itself, many of whom live in Israel and thus would likely not be able to access their own history if it was hosted in Iraq (which refuses to admit Jewish visitors).

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