The possessions of Iraqi Jews - www.jewishaz.com: Opinion

The possessions of Iraqi Jews

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Posted: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 11:25 am

A year from now, the United States is scheduled to return to Iraq a trove of Jewish artifacts the U.S. military discovered in Baghdad after it overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003. Included within the historic materials are thousands of what were badly damaged holy books — the oldest from the 16th century — which were shipped to the United States, restored and digitized.

In an effort to make clear that the United States did not enter Iraq to loot it, an agreement was made at the time with the U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to return the collection. What that agreement unfortunately ignored is that Iraq itself looted the artifacts (read: possessions) from Iraqi Jews as they fled their 2,000-year-old community during World War II, and after the creation of Israel. When the Ba’ath Party took power in the late 1960s, most of the rest of the Jewish community was forced out. Some believe that there are only five Jews in Iraq today.

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