Lobby group Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine has vowed to continue with its campaigning after a move to expel Israeli professionals from the International Union of Architects (UIA) failed.
Last year a host of leading British architects including Will Alsop, Rick Mather, Sunand Prasad and Jack Pringle backed an APJP petition challenging Israeli architects to cease work that “excludes and oppresses” Palestinians including work in the occupied territories and parts of east Jerusalem.
But a proposed motion at last weekend’s 23rd World Congress of Architecture in Turin which could have seen the Israel Architects Association barred from the UIA came to nothing because no delegate presented it for a vote.
The news was greeted with anger and disbelief by APJP chairman Abe Hayeem.
“The silence of UIA representatives to propose a motion to censure Israel for its breaches of the UIA professional and ethical charter, as well as the flouting of international law, is reminiscent of Africa’s prolongued reluctance to criticise Robert Mugabe’s criminal excesses,” he said.
“The issue of how far any professional body will go to protect or ignore its professional and ethical code of conduct will not disappear.”
Former RIBA president Pringle, who attended the conference on behalf of the RIBA, told BD he had signed the original petition in a personal capacity and was unable to put forward a political statement as an RIBA representative.
He said: “It’s fair enough that member states respect international law but everybody realised this was an extremely difficult situation and not even the Palestinians were prepared to put forward the motion.”
No-one at the UIA or Israel Architects’ Association was available as BD went to press.
Australian Louise Cox was elected unopposed as the new UIA president after her fellow candidate, Italian GiancarloIus, died of a heart attack at the conference the night before the vote.