For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
“This is not an Israeli-Palestinian debate,” Stanley Cohen, the director of the Scone Foundation, said. “It is [a conference] to honor the archivist profession.”
Cohen’s statement was half true: the event was not a “debate,” but only because there were no dissenting opinions to challenge keynote speaker Rashid Khalidi’s monologue portraying the Palestinians as powerless victims of an Israeli foe intent on destroying their historical records.
Cohen was speaking to an audience of approximately 150 people, mostly members of the general public and scholars of the Middle East, at the Scone Foundation’s “Archivist of the Year” award ceremony, held January 25 at the CUNY Graduate Center’s expansive auditorium in the heart of New York City.
The event was billed as an opportunity to honor the joint recipients of the seventh Archivist of the Year award, Yehoshua Freundlich of the Israeli Archives and Khader Salameh of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Library. Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University and a former spokesman for the PLO, and Professor David Myers, the director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, were the event’s keynote speakers.
Cohen made clear from the start that he subscribed to the political biases of academia. He claimed that a previous recipient of the Archivist of the Year Award had been “shelved by the Defense Department” for opposing Operation Iraqi Freedom. “Archivists cannot oppose faith-based policies,” Cohen joked with his seemingly sympathetic audience.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"