Wednesday 20 February 2013

Russia Aims to Defuse Conflict Over Chabad Books

At a meeting in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, which was opened by a Moscow-based Chabad group last November:
Russian President Vladimir V. Putin said on Tuesday that he blamed “unjust rulings by the judicial authorities of another country” for the tensions over a collection of books and manuscripts that is being sought by the Brooklyn-based Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic group, but offered to defuse the situation by transferring the works to a new Jewish center in Moscow.  Mr. Putin, who stressed that the collection “belongs to the Russian state,” [...] said that all sides in the conflict should gather to resolve the legal issues “and strive not to inflame the situation but search for a solution.” He also said that restitution of cultural property seized after the 1917 revolution is impossible because it would open a “Pandora’s box” of claims that Russia is not ready to address.
The US newspaper calling the library the 'Schneerson collection', even if it is descriptive of the main context of the disputed material, seems a bit emotive. In any case it was in Russia that the group operated and compiled that library.

I suppose a valid question is that a US court having issued a judgement, moving the material from one place to another in Russia is not going to overturn the verdict, so (even assuming the US Chabad claimants and the USA government are persuaded it's an acceptable resolution) how to defuse that one? 

Sophia Kishkovsky,  'Russia Aims to Defuse Conflict Over Schneerson Collection', New York Times February 19, 2013.

Previous posts:
"Washington Judge Challenges Preservation of Historical Material in (Foreign) State Collections" (PACHI Monday, 9 August 2010)

"Return to Sanity over Chabad-Lubavich Library" (PACHI Thursday, 20 September 2012)

"Chabad Book Madness Gets Even Crazier: US Oversteps the Mark" (PACHI Tuesday, 12 February 2013)


Dorothy King said...

I don't know ... Quite like calling it the 'Schneerson collection' - that reminds Jewish not to follow their gut instinct, it's not a Jewish library to be 'saved' from Russian, but the collection put together in Russia by a very dodgy group who think Schneerson was the Messiah ...

Paul Barford said...

It seems to me that the intent is to make people think of it as "personal property" rather than the product of a group/period/body of thought evolving in Russia. By personalising it, this leads to the idea that perhaps it should be "among his followers" (whatever they think). It's like the dichotomy Elgin/Parthenon Marbles or SLAM mummy mask/Ka Nefer Nefer mask.

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