Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Iraq Cuts U.S. Arts Ties Over Jewish Archives

Iraq is cutting archaeological cooperation with the United States because the U.S. has not returned Iraq’s Jewish archives.

Iraqi Tourism and Archaeology Minister Liwaa Smaisim is pushing for the return of the archives that were removed from Iraq following the 2003 U.S. Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to the French news agency AFP.

Iraq was home to a large Jewish community prior to 1948 before most Iraqi Jews immigrated to Israel.

The archives, which were discovered in the flooded basement of Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, include Torah scrolls, and Jewish law and children’s books. Seventy percent of the collection consists of Hebrew-language documents while 25 percent of the collection is in Arabic. The rest of the documents are written in other languages.

Smaisim, a member of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s movement told AFP that Iraq will “use all means” to retrieve the archives.

“One of the means of pressure that I used against the American side is I stopped dealing with the American (archaeological) exploration missions because of the case of the Jewish archives and the antiquities that are in the United States,” Smaisim told AFP.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.