Why the Jewish Archive Shouldn’t Go Back to Iraq


Iraq in the 40s had 350,000 Jews. Today it has somewhere between four and none.

Despite that the Obama administration plans to send the Jewish Archive consisting of religious artifacts, bibles, marriage contracts, community records and private notebooks seized by the Iraqi Secret Police from the Jewish community back to Iraq.

The material is not the property of the Iraqi government, either Saddam’s regime which stole it, or its Shiite successor which claims to want it, but not the Jews who owned it. It’s the property of Iraqi Jewish refugees and their reconstituted communities in America, Israel and anywhere else.

The personal material, like marriage contracts and school books, should go to the families that owned them and to their descendants. The religious material, which a Muslim country that purged its Jewish and Christian communities has no use for, should go Iraqi Jewish religious communities wherever they are now.

Jewish bibles seized from the custody of the Nazi SS would not be sent to the German government. There is no reason to send Jewish bibles into the custody of the Iraqi government.

To its credit, the State Department in the past, which paid for the salvage and restoration of the records, did ask Iraq nicely. And the Iraqis have always insisted on seizing the Jewish Archive.

“They represent part of our history and part of our identity. There was a Jewish community in Iraq for 2,500 years,” said Samir Sumaidaie, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States. “It is time for our property to be repatriated.”

Was. Past tense.

Iraq does not have a Jewish community. It will not have a Jewish community. Its government does not want a Jewish community. It never did. It is a Muslim country and has no use for Jewish religious artifacts, except to resell them at auction to the highest bidder, unless some of the Salafis get their hands on the archive first and destroy it.

The United States did make a commitment to send the Jewish Archive back to Iraq. But that was an illegal and ill-considered decision. Material taken from the Iraqi Secret Police should have been returned to its proper owners.

And its proper owners are not a Muslim Iraqi government that has responded with Anti-Semitic tantrums over the archive.

Among the most important items in the collection are the oldest copies of the Talmud and the Old Testament. That is why, experts argue, the former Iraqi regime kept the collection guarded in the intelligence building.

Experts add that Israel is keen on obtaining the manuscripts in order to prove their claim that the Jews had built the Tower of Babel as part of its attempt to distort the history of the Middle East for its own interests.

Arab League Deputy Secretary General Ahmed ben Helli has confirmed attempts by Israel to steal ancient Iraqi archives. “Iraq has been subjected to the biggest theft of its manuscripts and historic treasures,” he said. “Israel is accomplice to this.”

What possible justification is there for turning over Jewish documents to bigoted sociopaths like this?

Iraq Jewish refugees, like so many other Jewish refugees from Muslim countries, lost everything they had. They should not be forced to bear the looting of their bibles and religious items a second time. This time at the hands of the United States government.

The Iraqi government does not need Jewish books it cannot read. It does not need to victimize Iraqi Jewish refugees one last time. It refuses to do the honorable thing and return these items back to the Jewish communities they were stolen from, but that does not stop us from doing the right thing.

Property stolen from Iraqi Jewish communities should go back to them.

  • Veracious_one

    Despite that the Obama administration plans to send the Jewish Archive consisting of religious artifacts, bibles,
    marriage contracts, community records and private notebooks seized by
    the Iraqi Secret Police from the Jewish community back to Iraq.

    why?,,,,is Obama afraid to destroy them himself….you just know he wants to….

    • Larry Larkin

      It’s called deniability. They send them back, and have the collection has been destroyed the obamanauts can claim “we didn’t do it, and we really, really didn’t think the genocidal anti-semites would do it either”.

  • Anamah

    I do not see any human in the State Department nor this administration to be able to understand this issue. Less of that of course and specially the skeleton of the Justice Department. They are not capable to feel the call moral issues. So let try to point this objects belong to the Jewish people and they must openly solve and return all to their heirs.

  • Zagat Tragonach

    The inmates are not only running the asylum in this country, they are opening a whole chain of new asylums.

  • Andrew

    Disgusting move by the administration, it makes it easier for Arabs to plausibly deny the other side of the post war refugee issue and makes it easier for for BDS/ISM animals to perpetuate their bile about every Jew in Israel being some lily white Ashkenazi colonialist.

    • Eliyahu100

      I’m an Ashkenazi but hardly lily white. My family are on the swarthy side or what some call olive-skinned. You know that all sorts of charges are thrown at Jews. But what is interesting is that the charges change with the times. A century ago when white was considered best and superior, the Jews were classified as not quite white, as Oriental, alien to Europe, sallow-skinned, swarthy and so on. Now, when non-white people are considered necessarily objects of pity on account of mistreatment by whites, Jews are seen as the whitest of the white. Thus the sense of white guilt for colonialism and racism is thrown on the Jews and Israelis, leaving many Germans and Scandinavians and British feeling very good about themselves, quite self-righteous for opposing those “ultra-white” Jews.

      • rogerinflorida

        In 65 years I have never heard anyone describe Jews as “white”. I believe this is because Jews are a Semitic people, like Arabs. But then Jews rarely miss an opportunity to portray themselves as victims.

        • Elon

          Arabs do all the time, particularly Israelis. Does it make sense to call Jews White? No. Does it happen? Hang around Students for Justice in Palestine and see for yourself.

  • defcon 4

    Nice words by the Iraqi ambassador. I wonder if they’re all insincere Al Taqiyya lies or if there’s a shred of truth to them? I’m also intrigued by how the enemedia always ignore news stories like these. I wonder what became of all the Iraqi synagogues? On second thought maybe I don’t want to know.

  • Bruce

    It really doesn’t matter how sincere the Iraqi Ambassador is.

    Once those items are in that region, it will just be a matter of time before they are destroyed, and video of the destruction plastered all over JihadiNet.

    Then again; that seems to be the plan.

  • Raymond_in_DC

    Returning these artifacts to the Jew-hating thieves of Baghdad is not as bad as putting the Temple Mount in the hands of the Islamic Waqf, but bad enough. (And we’ve seen how responsibly the Waqf has treated Jewish cultural artifacts.)

    Before entertaining any demands from Iraq for Jewish artifacts, Iraq should first compensate the 140,000 or so Jews for the wealth and property taken from them.

  • davka

    Great article, Daniel. Please sign the petition to stop the transfer: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Dont_let_the_Jewish_archive_go_back_to_Iraq/?copy/

  • davka

    Please note that there were not 350,000 Jews, but 150,000 in the 40s.

  • rogerinflorida

    Returning these documents to Iraq would be an appalling act of dishonesty and treachery. They should be handed to Israel for safekeeping and return to their real owners.