USA to arrest world’s largest sailing ship because of Jewish books

The world’s largest sailing ship, the Sedov, that started its world cruise in May, may not reach all of its destination ports. The Sedov has recently declined entering the Swedish ports of Göteborg and Malmo because the local authorities could arrest the ship. US officials said that they would arrest the ship if it called at the port of San Francisco.

The ship was supposed to call at San Francisco in November to stay there for four days. The US authorities did not guarantee that the vessel would not be arrested. US officials politely warned the administration of the Russian Fishing Agency and the command of the Sedov about the possible arrest of the vessel because of the trial in connection with the so-called Schneerson library.

To cut the story short, the ship can be arrested to force Russia to return Rabbi Schneerson’s library to the US-based Jewish religious organization Chabad Lubavitch. The library is a collection of 12,000 ancient Hebrew books, 50,000 documents and 381 manuscripts, which Russia currently keeps in its State Library.

The court ruled in August of 2010 that Russia must deliver the books to the US side. In July of 2011, the Federal Court of District Columbia allowed the Jewish religious organization to start the delivery of the books from the Russian Federation. Russia considers the rulings of US courts lawless and does not intend to bid farewell to the books. Why would Russia deliver the historical treasure, taking into consideration the fact that Russia has not either withdrawn or stolen it.

“The Schneerson library has never belonged to the US-based Chabad. The library has never left the territory of the Russian Federation either. It was nationalized because there were no legal heirs left in the Schneerson family. A “return” of those books to the USA is not appropriate at all,” officials with the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The US side has not returned timely comments. It was only said that the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was too busy on her visit to St. Petersburg. The Russian Fishery Agency is looking for an opportunity to arrange a meeting with the US Ambassador in Russia.

What kind of a library is it and why is there so much fuss about it?

Rabbi Joseph Yitzchak Schneerson lived in the early XX century in Lubavitch, the Mogilev province of the then territory of the Russian Empire. He inherited a huge library of Hebrew texts. Then came the revolution, which brought devastation, and the rabbi, wishing to preserve his valuable assets, handed them over for safekeeping to the Russian library. He had to travel all around the world afterwards, but all of the manuscripts were kept in Moscow.

In the early 1990’s, the son and spiritual heir to the long-deceased rabbi Menachem Schneerson asked to return the collection, because the books and manuscripts used to be the personal property of Joseph Yitzchak Schneerson prior to the nationalization.

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