Later this month, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) will be showcasing artifacts illegally seized by Israel in 1967 after it occupied East Jerusalem. In cooperating with the Israel Antiquities Authority to import and exhibit the Dead Sea Scrolls, the ROM would be in violation of Canada”s obligations under UNESCO legal conventions and protocols, and its own obligations as a member of the Canadian Museums Association (CMA).
The Palestinian Authority sent a letter to the ROM in April expressing its concerns with the way the ROM’s exhibition was proceeding. The ROM has yet to publicly announce any changes to its plans for the exhibition.
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The museum”s planned exhibition later this month of the Dead Sea Scrolls is contrary to Canada”s obligations under international law, and contrary to the spirit and intent of all laws on the protection of cultural property. It is also in violation of the Canadian Museums Association”s Ethical Guidelines.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were illegally seized by Israel when it occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, and, since 1967, additional excavations and findings by the Israel Antiquities Authority have taken place in Qumran, in the occupied West Bank, and artefacts were illegally transferred to Israel.
I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism and ethics at the ROM. I ask the ROM to respect its obligations and Canada”s obligations with respect to the planned Dead Sea Scroll exhibition.