The Senate’s Admirable Effort to Help Return Art Looted by the Nazis

Sponsored by a bipartisan quartet of senators, the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act, now before the Senate Judiciary Committee, seeks to make it easier for those seeking restitution of stolen artwork to press their claims. Alice B. Lloyd explains the bill’s significance:

The HEAR Act [is] an effective reset on statutes of limitation restricting restitution for heirs. . . .

A grandmother in Ohio may remember a Flemish landscape hanging in her parents’ dining room in the interwar old country, and her grandchildren, heirs to that obliterated culture, can now take the search [for the stolen art] online. But even if a tech-savvy grandson can find a possible match on one of the public online archives—he’d judge by its dimensions, description, and, if luck would have it, by its photograph—the work of verifying her claim to even a minor Old Master would take expensive expert advising and legal counsel. Meanwhile, statutes of limitation and laches, legal restraints on the time a claimant waits to seek justice for a crime, differ from state to state; but nowhere in the U.S. do these restraints favor the victims of international crimes carried out a lifetime ago. . . . .

In a legal system unaccustomed to timeless ownership, granting families’ claims on their stolen treasures full credit under the law establishes claim to the world as it was before the Holocaust—a world in which a woman, looking upon a painting, would feel the same soul-stirring we do. And if the Holocaust was a failure of all humanity, the task of picking up what pieces remain is, as supporters of the HEAR Act see it, also the responsibility of us all.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Arts & Culture, Congress, Holocaust, Holocaust restitution

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas