Monday, December 2, 2013
Prominent Israeli Antiquities Dealer Sues IAA
A prominent Israeli antiquities dealer has filed suit against the Israeli Antiquities Authority. He alleges that the IAA damaged his reputation in prosecuting a lawsuit charging him with forgery of ancient artifacts. The IAA's lawsuit subsequently fell apart in spectacular fashion before an Israeli court. The antiquities dealer, Robert Deutsch, says he is entitled to some $3 million in damages. American collectors, Museums and dealers may find some of the allegations on how he was treated sound familiar. It will be interesting to see how this matter progresses in court.
Posted by Cultural Property Observer at 9:56 AM
Labels: criminal liability, Isreal
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Frankly I hope he takes them to the cleaners. I followed the case in the early days when it was being closely covered by "Biblical Archaeology Review" magazine. The prosecution and its supporters (lawyers and archaeologists alike) were as smug as could be in their stated belief that Deutsch was a knowing collaborator with forgers foisting fakes on the public. As I recall, he was co-director of a dig at the time and was asked to leave. In general, he was shamed and disgraced by the establishment who probably assumed that the AIA would never make such broad sweeping allegations without some rock-solid proof to back it up. Unfortunately, the "smoking-gun" was never produced--just a lot of inconclusive opinions--but the damage was already done. This reminds me of the Atlanta Olympic bombing suspect who turned out to be innocent after his reputation had been thoroughly trashed by both law enforcement and the media. Let's hope Deutsch gets a nice fat settlement so the AIA will think twice before embarking on another witch-hunt.
It is worth mentioning what the judge had to say about Deutsch:
In his verdict, the trial judge, Aharon Farkash, described Deutsch as “an honest and decent businessman, professional and experienced, who has advised many people without demanding any financial return.”
EDIT: my initial post should read IAA rather than AIA, in both instances. Clearly a Freudian slip, lol.
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