U.S. to Return Jewish Artifacts to Iraq, Despite Protests

(JTA) Josefin Dolsten - The U.S. will return to Iraq next year a trove of Iraqi Jewish artifacts that lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to keep in this country, State Department spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said. A four-year extension to keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the U.S. is set to expire in September 2018 and it will then be sent back to Iraq. The archive was brought to America in 2003 after being salvaged by U.S. troops. Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to renegotiate the deal, arguing that the documents should be kept in the U.S. or elsewhere where they are accessible to Iraqi Jews and their descendants. "There is no justification in sending the Jewish archives back to Iraq, a country that has virtually no Jews and no accessibility to Jewish scholars or the descendants of Iraqi Jews," Gina Waldman, founder and president of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, said Friday.

2017-09-11 00:00:00

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