Will the Jewish Archive Return to Iraq?

This increased the odds of the archive being maintained outside Iraq or once back in Iraq eventually being shipped abroad again for maintenance, which would require a new agreement between Iraq and the temporary host.

Some Jewish voices have emerged against the archive's return to Iraq. Some have demanded that Iraqi Jews somehow be made a party to the negotiation process. Bussoon stands at the forefront of the opposition to the archives return given that it is the “last signs of recognition of a Jewish presence in Iraq.”

“This archive tells the stories of our lives as the surviving Jewish generation that left Iraq in 1950-1951,” Bussoon said to Al-Monitor. “It also tells stories about the lives of our families. It represents our identity. Therefore, we cannot compromise it or leave it in the hands of a library or a museum in a country [Iraq] that does not allow Jews entry, especially since most Iraqi Jews live in Israel.”

Bussoon claims that his position represents that of “vast majorities of Iraqi Jews around the globe,” including in Israel. Bussoon added, “Iraqi Jews are angry at the possibility that the archive will return to Iraq.”

Explaining the value the archive holds for Iraqi Jews, Bussoon said, “We want to recover it, because it tells our story. This is why we call for preserving what remains of [our heritage] and what represents our memories. If this archive ends up back in Iraq, who guarantees us that fundamentalist Islamists wouldn’t burn the books of 'pagans'? It would eliminate all that is left for us: memories.”

On the other hand, Edwin Shuker, an interreligious dialogue activist and the vice president of the European Jewish Congress, takes a different position based on the content of the archive. He said that while the contents of the archive are mostly personal in nature and have some emotional value, the items are not particularly old and do not hold significant historical importance.

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