Friday, September 7, 2012

U.S. Denies that Iraq Jewish Archives were "Smuggled" to Israel

Al Arabiya has a piece called "Iraq's Jewish archive has not been smuggled: U.S. official" that is a follow-up on the recent U.S./Iraq negotiations in Baghdad that included discussions about the "ongoing process of repatriating archives and documents which are part of the patrimony of the Iraqi people."  The piece states that following the meetings U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Elizabeth Jones confirmed to reporters that the Iraqi Jewish archives have "not been smuggled" to Israel and that they are in "the United States to be 'restored and photographed.'"  Al Arabiya notes that "Jones described the process of photographing the document[s] as 'complicated,' alluding to the need for a longer time to return the whole complete archive back to Iraq."

The piece also recounts that the allegations about the Iraqi Jewish archives "surfaced in June, when Iraq's Tourism and Antiquities Minister Lewa Smeisim told the state-run Sabah newspaper that Iraq had received information indicating [the Jewish archives were] in Israel" (see earlier coverage of those allegations and their effects here, here, and here).

The new and clear denial of the questionable allegations is a welcome development.