Sunday, 26 January 2020

Dealing With The Dirty Business

Peter Tompa has blocked me on Twitter so somebody sent me for comment what he wrote about the smuggling of the 2017 Gaza Fishermen's Hoard out of the Gaza Strip:

Really, as several people have pointed out already, this rather odd in the context of this lobbyist's opposition to any suggestion that the profits from the no-questions-asked sales of antiquities might be used to buy weapons and finance violence, especially in the MENA area.

He's now arguing precisely in the same way as those he opposes. Also you'd have to live in some special kind of bubble to consider it would be necessary for the BBC Arabic service to have to tell its Arabic-speaking audience 'who runs Gaza'. 

I believe that if Palestinians were selling coins or any other antiquities from their territory to finance their opposition to the colonialist Israeli occupation of their land and oppression, they would find no end of no-questions-asking dealers and collectors in the US and beyond who would not give a second thought to the possibility of paying them  (or indeed the Israelis, whose antiquities market is government controlled), money for blood antiquities.

This actually is what the current concerns about the present manner in which the antiquities market operates, with no transparency about where material is coming from, and where the not-inconsiderable sums of money are going, and collectors and dealers doing their level best to avoid that being changed. This is what allows, looted, unreported,. smuggled and fake material to pass unchallenged onto and further contaminate the dirty grey antiquities market. It is the aim of lobbyists like Tompa to earn money from dealers and collectors to keep it that way.

The way to stop Palestinians, or anyone else, doing things like that any more is simply to clean up the antiquities market. Not simply condone middlemen and smugglers that steal the heritage from under their noses so that Mr Tompa's pals the dealers can sell it to well-heeled greedy collectors in Europe and the US. 

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