the curious motives behind the protests of dead sea scrolls exhibitions

A fragment (4Q51) of a Dead Sea Scroll

A fragment (4Q51) of a Dead Sea Scroll

you must read this excellent editorial on the drummed up protests surrounding the dead sea scrolls exhibit in toronto. some groups are claiming that the hebrew and aramaic documents belong to palestinians.

the article states:

An odd assortment of groups are protesting the exhibit on the grounds that the scrolls are stolen artifacts and really belong to Arabs, not Jews. Yes, you read that correctly. Hebrew manuscripts of the Jewish Bible that were written centuries before Muhammad was born are, apparently, Muslim property.

the editorial goes on to point out:

…there is a parallel effort to deny the Jewish people’s ancestral connection to the Holy Land. The idea is to delegitimize Israel by denying the indigenous rights of Jews.

indeed, archaeology is used as a weapon by extreme groups on both sides of the israeli/palestinian conflict. but what do palestinians want with jewish documents again (or would they be jordanian documents)??

besides, some of the scrolls from the dead sea are already in arab hands – in the jordan archaeological museum in amman. i don’t see the palestinians protesting the return of the copper scroll, do you? (then again, it is only the copper scroll…)

this protest is all one big drummed up political show, and one i might add that was curiously absent when the dss toured the us. which makes me wonder: what/who started this protest rolling in canada? is this simply a spontaneous new protest by palestinians against the canadians (a battle they forgot to fight at the numerous american exhibitions)? or, was this protest perhaps instigated by ardent, published supporters of the west bank’s claim of qumran (and its archaeological remains), who may have sent letters to certain political entities raising questions about this ‘controversy?’

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