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August 11, 2016 4:32 am

UK Paper Turns Court Ruling on Kafka’s Papers Into Act of Israeli Aggression

avatar by Adam Levick

Franz Kafka. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Franz Kafka. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Here’s the entire August 10 article (pay wall) at the Times of London written by Gregg Carlstrom:

A decade-long legal battle for Franz Kafka’s papers apparently ended yesterday with Israel’s highest court ruling that they should become the property of the national library.

The court rejected a claim by the heirs of Max Brod, a friend of Kafka who handled the author’s estate after his death in 1924, that they owned the papers, which are worth millions.

Kafka instructed Brod, a Czech Jewish author, to burn the documents but he ignored this and took a suitcase of Kafka’s papers when he fled the Nazis for Palestine in 1939. A few were published, but he locked most away.

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When Brod died in 1968 his will instructed his secretary, Esther Hoffe, to donate the papers to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem or another archive. She kept them, however, and shared them with her daughters. Hoffe sold an original copy of The Trial for $2 million in 1988. The remaining papers are in safety-deposit boxes in Israel and Switzerland.

Israel’s national library successfully sued the Hoffes for the papers in 2007, but the family appealed against the ruling. The high court rejected that appeal on Monday, ruling that Brod had not wanted the papers to be auctioned and they should become state property.

“This is a celebratory day for any person of culture,” David Blumberg, the library’s chairman, said. Kafka’s papers will be made available to the public.

Now, what would be an appropriate headline?

How about this?

Kafka Manuscripts Belong to Israeli National Library, Israel’s High Court rules

Or this?

Israeli court decides Kafka works to go to National Library

Or this?

Franz Kafka literary legal battle ends as Israel’s high court rules in favor of library

Ok, now here’s the headline chosen by the editors at the Times of London: “Kafka’s papers seized by Israeli judges.”

Of course, nothing was in fact “seized.”

Moreover, it’s a mystery how the editors managed to frame a legal decision by the state’s widely respected high court into some sort of act of Israeli aggression.

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