Like any institution of its kind, the Royal Ontario Museum is no stranger to controversy, but its plan to host a collection of ancient Middle Eastern religious scrolls has thrust the venerable institution into the midst of a battle of downright biblical proportions, the Toronto Star reports. According to Palestinian officials, the Dead Sea Scrolls—thought to date back to the earliest days of Christianity, and were first uncovered in the 1940s—represent nothing less than wholesale historic cultural piracy by the Israeli government. They claim that the documents were “acquired illegally by Israel when the Jewish state annexed East Jerusalem in 1967″—which, if true, would render them illegal under at least four international conventions and protocols to which Canada is a signatory. The Israeli Antiquities Authority, meanwhile, which is co-hosting the ROM exhibit, maintains that it has every right to display the scrolls, and ROM CEO William Thorsell insists that the show falls well within the law. “This issue has never been raised, so far as I know, in the past,” he told the Star.
Planned ROM Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit prompts Palestinian outrage
FILED UNDER: Canada