‘Let Iraq have digitised copy of archive’

There is a good case for not sending the Iraqi-Jewish archive back to Iraq, writes Sheldon Kirchner in the Times of Israel. Now that the archive has been digitised, there is no reason why  Iraq should not have a  copy. (With thanks: Imre)

A compelling argument for maintaining the status quo with respect to
the present locale of the archive was made last year by Gina Waldman,
the founder and president of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and
North Africa. As she put it, “There is no justification in sending (it)
back to Iraq, a country that has virtually no Jews and no accessibility
to Jewish scholars or the descendants of Iraqi Jews. The U.S. government
must ensure that (it) is returned to its rightful owners, the exiled
Iraqi Jewish community.”

 Detail from Torah scroll tik found in the Iraqi-Jewish archive (photo: NARA)

That doesn’t mean that Iraq should be totally deprived of its
cultural patrimony. Since the archive has been fully digitized, there is
no reason why a copy of it should not be made available to Iraq. The
Iraqi authorities could then display the most important pieces in a
permanent exhibition, thereby enabling Iraqi Muslims and Christians to
learn a valuable lesson in history.

With the flight of most of Iraq’s 120,000 Jews following the
declaration of Israel’s statehood, a succession of governments
demonized, marginalized and persecuted Jews, obliterating their stellar
contributions to Iraqi society. This policy hardened after the 1963
Baathist coup, the 1967 Six Day War and the 1979 accession to power of
Saddam Hussein.

A digitized version of the Iraqi Jewish Archive in Baghdad could have
a positive influence on Iraqis who wish to expand their knowledge of
their nation.

Read article in full 

JIMENA presses US to withhold return of Jewish archive to Iraq (JWeekly)

Politicians and advocates push to keep the Jewish-Iraqi archive in the US (Hamodia)

State department working to extend archive deadline

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