U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and three other senators announced July 18 the introduction of a bipartisan measure to help protect historic Jewish artifacts.
The Iraqi Jewish Archives were uncovered by U.S. soldiers in the basement of Saddam Hussein’s secret police headquarters in 2003 and include 2,700 priceless books, religious texts and civic documents.
The contents were badly damaged so the U.S. and the Coalition Provisional Authority signed an agreement that had the U.S. restoring the material, then returning it to Iraq. Since preserving the archives, the National Archives and Records Administration has displayed the collection throughout the U.S.
The collection is slated to return to Iraq in September. The resolution calls on the U.S. to renegotiate the agreement with the Iraqis to allow the archive to remain here longer.
“It makes no sense for this material to return to Iraq when the vast majority of Iraqi Jews and their descendants live in the Diaspora,” Toomey said.