Saturday, January 2, 2010

Canada requested to seize the Dea Sea Scrolls

Wall St. Journal classified ad June 1954

I've posted on the controversy of exhibiting the stolen Dead Sea Scrolls in Canada, while the ROM exhibit was here (it closes tomorrow) and before it opened (and for offering my perspective my blog was accused by a hasbara-ite of being a "hate site". I've heard worse. Sticks and stones....).

Today I read that Jordan asks Canada to seize stolen artifacts:

"Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Canada was asked to take custody of a series of scrolls and parchment fragments uncovered in the West Bank and currently on loan to Toronto from the Israel Antiquities Authority. The ancient artifacts were seized from an East Jerusalem museum in 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and illegally annexed Jerusalem. Since the artifacts were uncovered while the area was under Jordanian control between 1948 and 1967, it is the Jordanian government that requested Canada step in and protect the artifacts.

Jordanian officials summoned the Canadian chargé d'affaires in Amman in late December, the Toronto daily newspaper the Globe and Mail reported. According to the Canadian paper, Jordan cited the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to which both Jordan and Canada are signatories. On that basis, Jordan asked that Canada keep the scrolls until the international court can determine their rightful owner.

.... Canada, as a signatory of the cited Hague convention, is legally required “to take into its custody cultural property imported into its territory either directly or indirectly from any occupied territory. This shall either be effected automatically upon the importation of the property or, failing this, at the request of the authorities of that territory.”

Now, you might be surprised to learn -- like I was, that Israel does not claim to own the scrolls! Israel acts as their "custodian" and, states an Israel Antiquities Authority spokesperson, "as such, we have a right to exhibit them and to conserve them” and that "the short-term, temporary exhibition of scrolls in another country does not constitute 'exportation' under the Hague Convention."

I wonder why the media has not made this DISPUTED OWNERSHIP explicit? Why has not the state of Israel made this DISPUTED OWNERSHIP more apparent? Whose interest does this serve? Perhaps that hasbara-ite who claimed I was a hate mongerer ought to know that his country built on stolen land does not own the stolen scrolls.

The Globe and Mail article states that "Even if Canada ignores the request, it will make other countries think twice before accepting the controversial exhibit." I hope so. It concludes by saying that this seizure is unlikely to happen. I guess so--because we have no Parliament in session!

Our Prime Minister has prorogued our government until March--this means they don't have to take any action on anything until then. This is outrageous. It means that Parliament is suspended, which means that the Conservative government representatives are not answerable to any questions by opposition parties--or anyone else! So, the government doesn't have to answer to the recent charges of the torture of Afghan detainees, to climate change, to any controversies that develop from the Winter Olympics, or to Jordan's request for Canada to seize the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The only action the Conservative government is taking is to load the Senate with their cronies and to take home paychecks without doing any work! Talk about welfare cheats. Why should they get paid for doing squat? Canadians should be furious about this--Harper is not accountable to anyone until March 3rd. This is democracy?

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