The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and Women in Solidarity with Palestine have launched a protest against the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), for their exhibition of the looted Dead Sea Scrolls. For past two weeks, they have conduced successful protests (see video, pictures and media coverage below). Friday pickets are ongoing to keep up the pressure on the ROM and to continue to inform the public about the theft of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The demands of the protest are:
~ Demanding the ROM recognize the Scrolls are looted Palestinian artifacts.
~ Demanding the ROM dissociate itself from the Israeli Antiquities Authority
which has systematically looted millions of Palestinian artifacts.
The pickets were called after activists tried every avenue to avoid a protest ~ representatives from the Palestinian community and other organizations have attempted dialogue with the ROM ~ but none of the concerns have been addressed.
They were left no choice but to publicly protest, as the ROM has refused to make public the documents it claims prove the legality of the exhibit. It has also refused to seek a UNESCO opinion on the matter.
This exhibit is being funded by the wealthy Toronto family, the Tanenbaums. These are the fine folk who also orchestrated the creation of Canada Park in Israel that caused the destruction of three Palestinian villages. The people were given only a few minutes to gather what they could and then their homes were razed.
Having worked at the ROM many years ago I can attest that there is a lot of Zionist input and many many Jewish donators of collections as well as money. I have been following this story since the onset and knew, inside, that no amount of change will be tolerated at the risk of offending the big money.
My country shames good people everywhere with its current Chabad Lubovitch driven policies in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Our Presid...er Prime Minister Harper is a complete pawn of the Zionist agenda on an international basis so there will be little justice to be had as my country continues marching down the halls of hatred, declaiming the state of Palestine in favour of the monster we know as Israel.
Since Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, millions of artifacts have been systematically removed, looted and excavated from Palestinian territory, endangering Palestinian cultural and archaeological heritage.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. The bulk of the artifacts were excavated from Qumran in the West Bank, between 1947 and 1956 by the Palestine Archaeological Museum in a joint expedition with the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and the Ecole Biblique Française.
In 1967, the Scrolls were confiscated and illegally removed by Israel when the Israeli military occupied East Jerusalem. Since 1967, additional excavations and findings by the Israel Antiquities Authority took place in Qumran and the surrounding area. Those artifacts have also been illegally removed from Palestinian territory.
Under international law and in accordance with Israel's obligations as a signatory to the 1954 UNESCO convention and protocol for the "Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict", Israel is not entitled to these artifacts. The repatriation of the Scrolls and millions of other artifacts to Palestine remains a key issue for those seeking peace and justice in the Middle East.
In 2005, Canada signed on to several UNESCO conventions and protocols aimed at preventing the removal and the exhibition of illegally removed artifacts from occupied territories. It adopted its international obligations as part of domestic Canadian legislation in the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, which makes it a criminal offense, for example, to import cultural property in violation of the conventions.
By exhibiting the Dead Sea Scrolls the ROM is complicit in the theft of Palestine’s cultural heritage that continues to take place regularly through Israel’s military occupation and apartheid system with the unlawful removal of approximately 200,000 artifacts annually from the occupied territory since 1967.