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Sunday20 August 2017

RIBA backs Brady's Israel suspension call

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RIBA votes for suspension of Israeli architects from international body

The RIBA has approved a motion calling for the suspension of the Israeli professional body from the International Architects Union (UIA).

The motion, proposed by Angela Brady and backed by more than 60 members including Will Alsop, Richard Murphy and Jeremy Till, was carried by 23 to 16 with 10 abstentions in a secret ballot.

Supporters at the RIBA Council debate yesterday argued that the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) should be suspended until it condemns the policy of building illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

Brady, who tweeted a picture of herself wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the RIBA charter, said one of the profession’s core skills was promoting well-being.

She told Council: “Refusing this motion would send a clear message to the world at large that we as an institution turn a blind eye or by inaction support what’s going on – land grabs, forced removals, killing the state and human rights and reinforcement of apartheid.”

She added: “We must act now. This has gone on too long. We’re at a tipping point. Israel’s illegal actions mean Palestine could be wiped out.”

Speaking in support, George Oldham said: “Why Israel? It’s the only [country] where fellow member architects are directly involved in illegal acts. This is an entirely reasonable sanction.”

And James Karl Fischer said: “Not to carry this motion is to make us irrelevant.”

But other Council members argued it was the “wrong motion”, describing it as a misguided attempt to tackle an injustice.

Anthony Clerici, acknowledging that it was one of the “most difficult debates I have sat through in this room”, said it was inconsistent of the UIA to seek the suspension of one of its members and not others.

“The RIBA is already influencing for the better in many places in the world such as Libya, China, Russia, Saudi. I feel this is a better way that we should follow,” he said.

Francesca Weal said North Korea was a member of the UIA. “Don’t you think architects are designing prison camps and torture chambers there,” she said. “Angela went to China on a trade mission to a country that took over another country: Tibet. We haven’t had a motion about China. It’s a big, powerful country where members get a lot of work.”

Sumita Sinha, who has worked in the occupied territories, questioned whether expulsion would make any difference on the ground. She pointed out that the RIBA already does not validate schools of architecture in Israel/Palestine.

“China, North Korea, countries in the Middle East all have bad human rights records,” she said. “Why are we singling out one country?”

Brady accused “some people in this room” of allowing their desire to work in Israel/Palestine to influence the way they voted.

Afterwards, welcoming the result, she said: “This shows the RIBA has teeth and it’s going to use them in a positive way. This is not a boycott.

“Maybe China will be next but this is the starting point.”

RIBA member and chair of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, Abe Hayeem, who worked with Brady on the motion, said: “We urge the RIBA not to hesitate in backing this Motion to call for the IAUA’s suspension from the UIA, due to its failure to practice in line with the UIA Accords and Resolutions and the architect’s duty to all of society.”

ISRAEL TO BUILD ARCHAEOLOGICAL CENTRE

Israeli architect Moshe Safdie has designed a new national archaeological centre to showcase two million artefacts.

The 35,000sq m centre is being built in Jerusalem and will house around 150,000 books. The government’s collection of 15,000 Dead Sea scroll fragments will also be moved into a new conservation laboratory at the centre. The scheme is due to be completed in 2016.

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Readers' comments (66)

  • I am seriously considering leaving the RIBA

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  • Preposterous bien pensant posing.

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  • Jonathan,
    please do, and please take all those nay-sayers with you.
    Lets have an Institute that stands (up )for something.

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  • onlyslightlymoreconvinced

    Head above the parapet stuff from Brady and Co. It has to start somewhere.

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  • About time. These vultures are feeding off the cadavers littering the concentration camps of GAZA et. al and just as anything connected to Nazi Germany was and is vilified , so does what the Zionist culture of gross man's inhumanity to fellow man is to equally be. The only nonsense that will come out of it as usual is for apologists of fascists to label the RIBA anti Semites as if the Palestinians who are been dehumanized and destroyed are not deep core Semites too. The apologist underbosses will be expected to start foaming around the mouth and the call for the annihilation of the institute and its leaders targeted for crucifixions. Their standard M.O when ever they are exposed to be vile hypocrites. I am with the normally useless RIBA on this one,

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  • "These vultures are feeding off the cadavers littering the concentration camps of GAZA et. al and just as anything connected to Nazi Germany was and is vilified , so does what the Zionist culture of gross man's inhumanity to fellow man is to equally be"

    Brady has just given sustenance to people who hold such views

    Shame on you

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  • "Head above the parapet stuff from Brady and Co. It has to start somewhere"

    If this were immediately to continue with North Korea, China, Russia, Syria, Egypt etc etc I could sympathise, but one suspects the head will be quietly lowered

    I repeat my points from yesterday - the RIBA is paid for by it's members, me included (for now) and should represent their professional interests - it is not a quasi political party with any remit to meddle in international affairs

    BTW my previous comment is not a threat but a genuine response to a body which is increasingly distancing itself from the day to day affairs of UK architects

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  • Russia next?

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  • Since when did jumped up, self righteous architect's become politician's? How many times has Brady visited Israel / Palestine or spoken to people on the ground before making her mind up? Or is she just taking her advice from the Israel haters, Ben White "I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are

    - Brady accused “some people in this room” of allowing their desire to work in Israel/Palestine to influence the way they voted.

    What a joke Brady that statement is, like British Architects are queuing up to work there... she is saying that to deflect the real fact that British Architects "coin it in" working in some of the most corrupt countries around the globe, middle east and China for example.

    Brady is on record seeking more work in morally corrupt Peoples Republic of China, happy to feather her nest working in a country that grabs land and where human rights and freedom of speech and expression is non existent - Hypocrite.

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  • I am also considering leaving the RIBA.

    It is shameful that an organisation that is paid for by its members would carry such a motion behind closed doors. No attempt was made to contact its members giving no time for any form of reasonable debate to take place over such a divisive and contentious issue.

    Israel is an inclusive democracy that took the unprecedented step of freezing the vast majority of settlement construction in 2009 for 10 months in the hopes that it could reignite stalled peace negotiations with the palestinians. The Palestinian Authority took no steps towards restarting negotiations with Israel receiving over 200 rocket and mortar attacks in the meantime.

    To top this off Angela Brady has tabled this anti-Israel motion whilst hosting delegates from China of all places. Its bad enough she has singled out Israel for criticism but promoting business from China at the same time goes beyond hypocrisy.

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