Sunday 18 May 2014

Some Problems with the US Retention of the IJA

William Pearlstein likens the so-called Iraqi Jewish Archive to "Holocaust art" and has some harsh words about those who would prefer to see US conservationists uphold their given word to return the material when it was conserved. How many of the professional conservators would have considered it ethical to work on the material if they'd known that the US was going to renage on the agreement and appropriate it for itself? They have unwittingly had a hand in this appropriation.

But, as we all know, there are too many kudos points to be won in US politics from putting "Jewish interests" first. Not that it matters whether this actually is in anyone's interest. This is cultural property nationalism in its purest form.

Let us revisit the question of 'What is in this "Iraqi Jewish Archive"?' (PACHI Friday, 22 November 2013).

Please note I also ask for some answers to questions which would allow us to address the reality behind the knee-jerk ("commons sense innit?") emotive label of it all as "stolen". It is a shame that the case will not come to court where that label would inevitably come under scrutiny in the case of individual items  - is there evidence or hearsay?  I asked those questions in November, no answers have ever been offered; the lobbyists say they were stolen, so public opinion and US lawmakers uncritically swallow the story. With the result we saw yesterday.

Also I note that in the website it says the US has already spent three million dollars conserving only part of the documents. Now they are hanging on to them, let's hold them to conserving all of them. And let Senator Schumer now raise the money (honestly showing potential sponsors first the actual documents the money is going to be used for).

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