Somewhat tangential to our purview, but dealing with an exhibition I”m likely to go to (the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Royal Ontario Museum), we are just starting to hear rumblings of this … an excerpt from the Toronto Star:
The Conservative government is staying mum on a letter from senior Palestinian officials opposing a planned exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Royal Ontario Museum.
A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon declined to comment yesterday on accusations that the six-month exhibit, set to begin in June and organized in co-operation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, violates at least four international conventions or protocols on the treatment of cultural goods that were illegally obtained.
Both Canada and Israel are signatories to all of the agreements, the Palestinians say.
In letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and top executives at the ROM, senior Palestinian officials argue the scrolls – widely regarded as among the great archaeological discoveries of the 20th century – were acquired illegally by Israel when the Jewish state annexed East Jerusalem in 1967.
The letter of protest sent this week to Harper was signed by Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. The letter to the ROM bore the signature of Khouloud Daibes, minister of tourism and antiquities.
I personally doubt anything will come of this, but it’s an interesting bit of fallout from all the repatriations going on of late; one wonders why we haven’t seen a demand from Palestinian authorities to repatriate the scrolls … (one isn’t surprised that the Star is setting this one up as a vehicle to bash the government) …