Lord Renfrew's efforts to shift the burden of proof to collectors in the U.K. may have failed for now, but his reference during a House of Lords debate to Jewish incantation bowls allegedly stolen from Iraq has led to yet another story about them years after the initial controversy had subsided. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/08/british-link-stolen-treasures
The story fails to detail the basis for the conclusion that the bowls originated in Iraq as opposed to Jordan, but the article does go onto gratuitously claim that such stolen antiquities help fund insurgents in Iraq.
This incendiary claim has also been disputed. Indeed, a New York Times reporter that has specifically looked into the issue has characterized such claims as a "red herring." See: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/03/20/iraq_roundtable/ ("Garen: I think this is an important point about the link between looting and terrorism, and I know that that was made in a New York Times Op-Ed piece, but we were actually the ones that discovered that potential link. We never published it. We were freelancing for the New York Times. We never wrote a story about it because there's no proof. And I think it was a bit of a red herring.")
The article also fails to explore the distinct irony that repatriating Jewish artifacts to a country that has systematically destroyed its Jewish culture poses. See http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2008/07/joffee-critiques-justifications-for.html
Is there anything else going on here? One certainly wonders if this incantation bowl story comes up over and over again at least in part because archaeologists are miffed that epigraphists continue to see value in the study of unprovenanced artifacts. See http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/2007/10/ucl-and-incantation-bowls.html Even worse, could anti-Semitism also be part of the mix? See https://www-ucl-slb.ucl.ac.uk/hebrew-jewish/ijs/news.htm