Claims antiquities department ruined his name and reputation
“I will sue the IAA.” Robert Deutsch, a victorious defendant in the lawsuit brought by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the so-called “forgery trial of the century,” told Biblical Archaeology Review in an exclusive telephone interview. “I don’t want to talk with gloves on,” he added as he spoke passionately. Deutsch was declared not guilty on all charges.
“They tried to ruin my name and for that I will sue them for all of my expenses and all of my damages,” Deutsch said. Before the lawsuit, he had taught at Haifa University and had excavated at Megiddo. Not any more. He claimed his expenses in the lawsuit were more than 2.5 million shekels, or about $650,000.
“More than 120 witnesses tried very hard to connect me with forgeries—unsuccessfully because there is no connection. All they were trying to do was spoil my name…and they will pay for that.”
Deutsch said that the real reason the IAA went after him is because he is both a scholar and an antiquities dealer. “They told me several times during the investigation that I ‘denigrated the academy’ because I am an antiquities dealer.” He emphasized that he is licensed by the IAA. “I received my license from them and somehow that makes me a criminal. They told me several times that they wanted to close my business, most importantly, because I am both a scholar and a dealer. I had the chutzpah to write books despite being a dealer. To them it is a crime for a dealer to write books.”
It is widely assumed that the IAA would like to put all antiquities dealers out of business.
“For all of these things, they will pay,” Deutsch continued. “They are the real criminals here, ruining a scholar’s name and reputation. I don’t mind how long it will take. They will pay.”
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