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June 6, 2014

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PAGE 4A By Ben Cohen HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 6, 2014 Iraqi Jewish Archive belongs in America America was complete. But in a major devel- opment on May 14, Lukman Faily, the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S., said in a statement that the government of Iraq had authorized him to extend the exhibition of the materials in the U.S. The decision, Faily explained, was based on the recognition that the exhibit has led to "an increase of understanding between !raq and United States and a greater recognition of the diverse heritage of Iraq." Not mentioned was another, perhaps more pertinent, consideration: the archive has been the subject of an intense political battle in America that may end up in the courts. The key reason for this is the fact that the archive was seized by Saddam Hussein's feared Mukhabarat secret police from a Baghdad synagogue in 1984--a good three decades after the vast majority of Jews had been driven out of Iraq. If the archive was stolen by the Ba'athist regime, then the present Iraqi government cannot unambiguously claim ownership of it; indeed, there's a strong case to be made that the true owner is the Iraqi Jewish community, through its representative organizations. ' That was certainly the thrust behind the U.S. Senate resolution passed in February, which "strongly recommends" that the original agreement between the American and Iraqi When I lastwrote about the archive of Jewish treasures from Iraq rescued by U.S. forces in Baghdad in 2003, I noted that the prevalent opinion among Iraqi Jews--a community from which I hail on my father's side--was that the books, photographs, scrolls, writings, and communal documents in this extraordinary collection should remain in America, rather than being returned to Iraq. I then argued that while this view couldn't be faulted on legal or moral grounds, I nonetheless wished that the situation were different, and that Iraq could celebrate its Jewish heritage in the manner that European countries like Poland and Germany do theirs. Since the vexed question of who owns this collection, known as the "Iraqi Jewish Archive," remains a live one, I want to outline some further thoughts on the issue. But before I do, it's worth summarizing the current state of discussions over the archive between the U.S. and Iraqi governments. The Jewish artifacts had been set to return to Iraq this June, in accordance with a 2003 U.S.-Iraq agreement that said the materials would return to Iraq after their restoration in authorities to return the archi/e to Iraq be negotiated afresh. Critically, that resolu- tion asserted that "the Iraqi Jewish Archive should be housed in a location that is acces- sible to scholars and to Iraqi Jews and their descendants"--a position that would preclude the permanent location of the archive in Iraq itself, given that virtually no Jews remain there and that none of the descendants of those Iraqi Jews expelled in the 1940s and '50s plan on "returning" to that country anytime soon. The prospect of legal procedures can be added to the political pressure. At a New York conference on the archive at the end of March, lawyer Nat Lewin urged action before the archive was returned to Iraq, confident that such an appeal by Iraqi Jews would meet with a sympathetic hearing in America. Moreover, as observed by Point of No Return, the superlative blog focused on Jewish communities fromArab countries, legal scholars agree that there's a strong case for keeping the archive on Ameri- can soil, since the understanding between the Americans and the Iraqis reached in 2003 does not have the force of an international treaty. "Under the 1909 Hague Convention, the U.S. considered itself committed to helping the 'oc- cupied' nation--Iraq--Pr0tect its property," said Point of No Return. "But the current statutes did not take into account cases where the property belonged to a religious minority." Agaipst this background, it's tempting to think that the archive will remain in the U.S.either through rolling extensions con- sented to by the Iraqi government or a more permanent agreement. Hence, I return to the question I asked in this column last September: in an ideal world, wouldn't the archive return to Iraq, "safe in the knowledge that what is being shown belongs to our community, and that we are sharing it with the other ethnic and religious groups among whom we lived?" Cohen on page 15A Letter from Israel Anti-Semitism Lesser known attacks of terror By Ed ziegler When I offer to share information I have gathered over the past seven years with some people about what the Islamic fanatics are doing here in America. I frequently hear "I do not see Islamic trouble around here" and "it's no big deal" and "I have a very nice Muslim friend" and "there are only a few fanatics." To me, responses such as these simply say they are ill-informed because the majority of the media do a very poor job of reporting Islamic actions. You have heard about major attacks, World Trade Center suicide bombings, the Boston Marathon bombings etc. This ar- ticle will focus on a few of their many lesser known illegal and heinous acts. In Seattle, on May 3, 2014, it was reported that Musab Mohamed Masmri, a Muslim, plead guilty to arson of a gay nightclub on New Years Day while 750 partygoers were inside. Shortly after midnight Musad poured gasoline on the carpet, ignited it, and immediately left. Previ- ously an informant told the FBI that Musad was planning a "terrorist activity." It was also reported that Musad stated homosexuals should be exterminated. In Colorado Springs this year, Jasim Moham- med Hasin Ramadon a/k/a Jay Hendrix, one of five Iraqi Muslim immigrants, was convicted of exceptionally brutal rectal gang rape of a 53-year-old woman. Police Lt. Howard Black, Special Victim's Unit, said "the severity of the attack made it rare in the city." Three Muslims in Cteveland--Moham- mad Amawi, Marwan E1-Hindi, and Wassim Azloum, were convicted of plotting to recruit and train terrorists to kill American soldiers in Iraq. Prosecutors said the men were learning to shoot guns and make explosives while raising money to fund their plans to wage a holy war against U.S. troops. It took a jury less than 45 minutes to convict a Brooklyn man of sending an email threaten- ing to shoot and kill then New York Governor David Paterson. Amir Syed Rzvi, a Pakistani immigrant, also warned he would poison New Yorkers across the state whiIe demanding the release of a notorious terrorists. Glen Francis, a convert to Islam in Arizona, was convicted of murdering Imam Rashard Khalifa. Attorneys for both sides agreed Khalifawas likely killed because of his religious teachings. Khalifa found a mathematical code and came to believe two verses were satanic, causing him to remove those verses from his English translation of the Quran. Two Islamic Rochester, Minnesota women were convicted of raising money and recruit- ing fighters for a terrorist organization called al-Shabab. The local Islamic community pro- tested, claiming discrimination. Prosecutors said the women went door-to-door to collect funds and held teleconferences to solicit donations. The Americans for Palestine (AMP) showed their terrorist inclination by its April 2014 fundraiser speaker list. Ramieh Odeh was directly responsible for the death of two people in a grocery store bombing. Another speaker was a Muslim Brotherhood leader. It is so easy to turn a blind eye to Islamic terrorist actions particularly when they are little publicizeT or when our government classifies them as work-place events, instead of the Islamic action, i.e. Fort Hood Massacre. In December 2009, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated "Home- based terrorism is here. Like violent extremism abroad, it will be part of the threat picture that we must now confront." These American Muslim extremists include American-born citi- zens, naturalized U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, as well a visiting Islamic terrorists. The enemy, Islamic terrorists, are commit- ted to destroying America. Are you getting involved to counteracting anti-American terrorists? There are many good anti-terrorist organizations you can be part of. This is a war we cannot afford to lose. Everyone is needed. Ed Ziegler can be reached at Brooklyn13@ or 352- 750-3298. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT.  CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE   x ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards HE ITAGE JEWISH NEWS I HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 email: Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Chris DeSouza Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Lori Apple Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bornstein Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore By Ira Sharkansky The attack at the Jewish Museum in Brus- sels, resulting in four deaths including those of a visiting Israeli couple, has elevated once again the issue of anti-Semitism. It comes against the background of recent studies of the subject, including one based on questions about attitudes toward Jews in various countries, another on Jews' sense of threat, and yet another that examined actual attacks attributed to anti-Semitism. The findings support those who would emphasize the continued threat against Jews, as well as those who argue that the findings are complex, do not get at the heart of what might be anti-Semitism, or are meant to bol,ster political support for Israel and assure mo,re donations to the organizations doing the research. Among the headlines: Poll: 93 percent of Palestinians hold anti- Jewish beliefs Survey: One-quarter of the world harbors anti-Semitic sentiment Anti-Semitism should not be waved around like a propaganda tool A critical article about one study (the Anti-Defamation League's survey of opinions in several countries) both suggests that the study may have exaggerated the problem, as well as failed to probe the sharpest kinds of anti-Semitism. On the one hand, the critic extrapolates from the ADL study that there are 70 anti-Semites for every Jew in the world. And on the other hand, he faults the study for not asking if people believe that Jews are descended from apes and pigs (preached by Muslim religious leaders) or killed Jesus (classic Christian anti-Semitism). Discussions of anti-Semitism ought to recognize its existence, and put it in context. There is no doubt that Jews, and now perhaps especially Israelis figure prominently on lists of the world's demons. At the same time, Jews are close to if not at the very peak of religious/ ethnic groups on the conventional social indi- cators, and Israel has climbed from poverty and profound threat to be a serious competitor by any measure of economic, cultural, scientific, medical, technological, and military capacity. Most Israelis have a decent, if not opulent standard of living, that ranks as middle class in international comparison. Jews are not the only group to suffer from crimes of hate or discrimination. Blacks and Muslims may suffer more in western societies, and some African tribes suffer at the hands of other African tribes what is comparable to the darkest times of Jewish history. Jews worry about the rise of anti-foreign political parties in Europe, but the greater emphasis of those parties is against Muslim and other African migrants than against Jews. Indeed, European Jews are among those sup- porting some right-wing parties out of their own concern about Muslims. If some worry about the increase in rac- ism among political activists in Europe, it is also fair to note the activities of Israeli Jews under the heading of "Price tag." The actions of these extremists include painting graffiti and otherwise vandalizing churches, mosques, and the property of Arabs. Rabbis who incite their followers against Christians on account of what happened centuries ago are prominent on Israel's list of embarrass- ments The Holocaust sets Jews apart, and violence that targets Jews as well as the disproportion- ate criticism of Israel continues to justify our concerns about acceptance and security. We can argue about the Jews' monopoly of suffering during the Holocaust, and if the expe- rience of Armenians at the hands of the Turks and the more recent mass violence between African tribes or againstAfrican Christians in Muslim areas justify the label of "Holocaust." Among the worries of Israeli Jews is the incidence of American Jews who affiliate with BDS and other campaigns that find Israel deserving of greater criticism or punishment than other countries that are demonstrably worse on matters of civil rights. Among the most bizarre claims are those expressed to the Pope during his recent visit in Palestinian areas that Palestinians are pro- tecting Christians against Jews, and that Jesus was the first Palestinian martyr to die at the hands of the Jews. Among the accomplishments of Netanyahu during the Pope's visit was his response to efforts in Bethlehem to put all the blame for everything on Israel, and the Pope's touching the Palestinian side of the wall. The Prime Minister managed to alter the Pope's itinerary, led him briefly to the memorial for the victims of mostly Palestinian terror, and explained the function of the wall as working against the addition of more names to that memorial. We should not expect a sea-change in the statements of the Vatican, the European Union, or the American State Department as a result of the Pope's visit, or in the efforts of Palestin- ians and Israelis to explain their narratives. It is impossible to determine with precision the beginning of anti-Semitism. (Or anti- Judaic attitudes, which acquired the label of anti-Semitism only in recent centuries.) Some date it from the Gospels of the New Testament, but Josephus' Against Apion suggests that the classic themes were apparent in Greek com- munities before the spread of Christianity. Reactions against the Holocaust may have produced a decline in anti-Semitism, especially in the formal doctrines of Christian churches. However, the Palestinians' fit with fashion- able models in behalf of the weak, and their assiduous campaigns against Israel may have produced an upward tick. Suspicions of thinking ourselves superior (chosen people), the dual loyalties of Jews who are citizens of western countries, jealousy of economic success and the prominence of individual Jews, and certainty about our hid- den agenda (protocols) may be our chronic problems, somehow entered into others' cul- tural DNA, with our own affected by inherent insecurity. We may have to live with anti-Semitism, even while continuing to study it and to condemn it. Yet we should also recogrfize that we're living well. Ira Sharkansky is professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.