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AJC: Prudent Senate Call to Retain Iraqi Jewish Archive in U.S.

NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC applauds the unanimous U.S. Senate adoption of a resolution strongly recommending that the United States renegotiate the return of the Iraqi Jewish Archive to Iraq.

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"These invaluable items, some personal, some communal, rightfully belong to the Jewish community," said Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC's Director of International Jewish Affairs. "Given the political and security situation in Iraq today, Jewish religious items may not be secure or accessible to those who are most interested in them." 

AJC has urged the State Department to review the understanding with the Iraqi government and find a way to ensure that they will be kept in a place where their long-term preservation and their accessibility to scholars and Iraqi Jews can be guaranteed. AJC also has discussed this option with Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. Lukman Faily who has expressed the hope that a creative solution might be found.

The archive is a collection of Jewish religious items and other artifacts, discovered after U.S. forces overthrew Saddam Hussein, and brought to Washington ten years ago for restoration and preservation by the National Archives. The understanding has been that after a public exhibit of some Iraqi Jewish items in Washington, D.C. and New York, the full collection would be sent to Baghdad this summer.

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

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