Righting a Wrong
by Peter Tompa
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 entitle 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.
This observer received significant correspondence input from Robert Deutsch from the beginning of this controversy up until the collapse of the IAA's lawsuit. That correspondence is of course privileged, however it can ethically be said that Deutsch from the very beginning consistently and convincingly maintained that the IAA's allegations were without any factual basis.
The IAA clearly engaged in disgraceful, out of control conduct in its attempt to destroy the reputation of Robert Deutsch and the owner of the artifact(s) whose authenticity was challenged in their suit.
This is one example of the evils that government agencies which are not effectively supervised and overseen by legislatures can produce.
In the USA, antiquities collectors and dealers just as honorable and blameless as Robert Deutsch are presently struggling to prevent a sinister anticollecting bureaucracy from destroying the time-honored right of American citizens to collect and study common antiquities such as ancient coins.
The defeat of the IAA's unjustifiable assault upon Deutsch et al. offers hope to American citizens whose rights are being trampled on in a similarly unscrupulous and unethical manner.