For Immediate Release Contact:
February 7, 2014 Roslyn Singer, 212-613-8227
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, praised the U.S. Senate for passing Senate Resolution 333 last night, which strongly recommends the United States renegotiate the return of the Iraqi Jewish Archive to Iraq. The resolution was adopted unanimously, with 30 co-sponsors.
The Archive, documenting 2,600 years of a Jewish Iraqi history, contains more than 2,700 books and other Jewish artifacts seized from oppressed Iraqi Jews and their institutions by the Hussein regime during the 1970s and 1980s. Sent to Washington, D.C., for restoration and recently on display at the Smithsonian Institute, the Archive is scheduled to be returned to Iraq in June 2014 if no immediate action is taken to change the terms of the initial agreement with the Iraqi government.
Nathan Diament, Executive Director for Public Policy for the Orthodox Union, said, “We thank the Senate for its quick approval of this resolution and particularly thank the resolution’s original sponsors, Senators Pat Toomey, Richard Blumenthal, Barbara Boxer and Ben Cardin, for their leadership on this important issue. The unanimous adoption of the resolution demonstrates that this issue is non-partisan and is a solely a matter of courtesy for the Iraqi Jewish community and their history. We urge the State Department to follow the Senate’s recommendation and renegotiate the terms of the agreement.”
The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization; the OU Advocacy Center, formerly the Institute for Public Affairs, is the non-partisan public policy arm of the OU and leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and state capitals.