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July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
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Senate Urges State Dept. to Renegotiate Terms for Iraqi Jewish Archive

By: JTA

The Senate unanimously urged the State Department to renegotiate the terms for the return to Iraq of an archive of Iraqi Jewish texts.

The resolution passed Thursday “strongly urges” the department to renegotiate the agreement with the Iraqi government “in order to ensure that the Iraqi Jewish Archive be kept in a place where its long-term preservation and care can be guaranteed.”

The nonbinding resolution also “recognizes that the Iraqi Jewish Archive should be housed in a location that is accessible to scholars and to Iraqi Jews and their descendants who have a personal interest in it.”

The resolution was initiated by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.).

U.S. troops uncovered the archive in the Iraqi secret service headquarters in Baghdad in 2003, much of it waterlogged.

Iraqi agents under Saddam Hussein had looted many of the articles after the dictator had driven the remnants of the Jewish community out of the country in a terror campaign.

Under an agreement with the Coalition Provisional Authority that had governed Iraq, the materials were sent to the United States where experts, led by a National Archives team, restored them.

Iraqi Jews in Israel, the United States, Britain and elsewhere oppose its return to Iraq under the agreement, saying the government now in place is not sympathetic to Jewish interests and would not make it available.

The archive, now on display at the National Archives in Washington D.C., is due to be returned in June.

Jewish groups, including the Orthodox Union, the World Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, praised the Senate for passing the resolution.

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One Response to “Senate Urges State Dept. to Renegotiate Terms for Iraqi Jewish Archive”

  1. Uzi Kattan says:

    The Iraqi government stole these items from our Iraqi Jewish community and now Obama is stealing them again and giving them to the Iraqi government. They belong to the Jews who left Iraq and the State Department has no right to give them to the thieves who stole them. Their obligation is to return them to the Iraqi Jewish community. This is what you get when you have an Arab in the White House who is stealing our heritage to give them to the ones who stole them.

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