Please note: This working group, whatever it turns out to be, is no substitute to the RIBA's firm and democratic 19 March Council decision to support the suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects from the UIA. Stephen Hodder has always says that the decision was now RIBA policy and still stands, yet he now mistakenly says that that by setting up such a group, the Motion is 'fulfilled'. He also cites that by sending the decision letter to the UIA, and receiving a reply that it is 'beyond the UIA' s political scope' that it relieves him of the responsibility of pursuing this Motion to be tabled at the UIA. This is certainly within the scope of the UIA, as a similar issue over South Africa in its apartheid days was made by the UIA, which expelled SA as a member. The RIBA too has a similar precedent in 1978, when it cut its links with South African schools of architecture as part of the boycott. In any case, this is an issue of the clear breaches of Resolution 13 by the IAUA since 2005, which condemns projects that are against the Geneva Conventions (considered as war crimes) and which involve ethnic cleansing and erasure of another people's culture. The building of illegal settlements since 1967 on expropriated Palestinian land, the whole enterprise of the architecture of occupation that continues with accelerated frenzy even during the recent peace talks, all involve Israeli architects -in a unique collaboration with the state and military policy. The evidence has been profusely documented, and the policies condemned worldwide. Further this is an issue of professional ethics and the breaches of the UIA's ethical Accords -again clearly documented. Stephen Hodder will still need to pursue this historic decision by Council at the UIA in Durban is he wishes the RIBA to retain its integrity as a truly professional Institute concerned with morality and justice.
It does look like a rather frobidding edifice for social housing. Lighten up David -all those rose embossed graphite tinted walls look too severe -why no balconies to soften the cubular mass -which suits the latest architectural monochromatic minimalist trends -but shows a lack of appeal to the masses and the softening of a harsh environment. Though the roof farm is good -why not dangle some trellises down the building for some greenery to trail down?
The reaction by the RIBA President is concerning and disappointing -includiing that of the Ritblats -since this whole issue of 'political scope' has been dealt with as a misleading misrepresentation by the UIA President Albert Dubler. Firstly, if the UIA has any political scope -this is exactly its remit, (as it was in the 1970s when the UIA and the RIBA expelled South Africa) since it is the UIA's own very political Resolution 13, passed twice, the last time in 2009, specifically in relation to projects involving Israel's breaches of the Geneva Convention and its ethnic cleansing and erasure of Palestinian culture and history. Since the IAUA's members continue ignoring this Resolution which actually involves serious professional misconduct and breaches of the ethical and professional UIA Accords -and the IAUA turns a blind eye to this with total detachment, any professional association whose members subscribe to a code of ethics yet suffers them to break the law is surely no longer strictly speaking a professional association. Ergo, they (i.e. the Israeli Architects Association) should be disqualified from membership in the UIA which is, at least ostensibly an association of professional memberships. By refusing to actively pursue the RIBA Council's democratically voted Motion on 19 March for Israel' suspension from the UIA, its President Hodder, and the UIA' s President Dubler are colluding and collaborating with the IAUA -whom Dubler had given firm assurances that the Motion will not proceed -without allowing all the UIA General Assembly to decide. This is disgraceful and scandalous -since the Palestinians, who are suffering the decades long occupation, violent oppression and dispossession resulting from Israel's massive real-estate enterprise built by Israeli architects, against international law, have requested that this matter of suspension of the IAUA is taken up urgently on the Agenda -as a sheer emergency. This is an historic opportunity to send a message to Israel that of it wants to be considered a democracy, it has to behave like one. Its architects, who build the physical reality of the Occupation need to learn there is a price to pay, until they change and condemn this unacceptable professional, unethical and immoral situation.
Comment on: Ian Martin: My ten favourite bits of London
Absolutely delightful, Ian. I agree with most of your 'likes' and your 'hate' -the Shard. I've aways hated it as it was going up -and now you can never miss it -it looms like a giant toothpick on the skyline. I always relish Paolozzi's mosaics at Tot.They look poorly maintained and need a clean up and listing so they can't be removed or taken away . Lubetkin too is great. All his stuff in Islington which I passed by regularly when working in the Architect's Dept there. Also missing in your list are some of Lambeth estates under Hollamby. Brutalism at its vastest. Now Eric Pickles want all these estates demolished when any of them have been cleverly renovated. Let' s have some more from Ian -I hope he is back as a regular!
Once again, the two doughty defenders of Israel's illegal occupation and well documented war crimes, Hoffman and Alderman, persist in turning facts upside down and inside out. No -the Jewish settlers and the settlements in the Occupied Territories are definitely illegal, under the 4th Geneva Convention, which prohibits a state moving its citizens into territory that it has occupied -and under 242, prohibits the acquisition of land by wars and by force. Like the Flat-Earth Society, they cannot ever perceive in their embedded misguided views and their dream world, that all the profuse documentation, the condemnation of Israel by the UN in over 65 Resolutions that Israel has flouted, innumerable reports by the UN and EU Human Rights, the Reports by Israeli human rights organisations like B'Tselem, ICAHD, ACRI, Adalah etc etc that every country in the world recognises that its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is illegal and the annexation of East Jerusalem is illegal, and that the Separation Wall, known by any well versed person on Israel's misdemeanors as the Apartheid Wall -has unequivocally been declared illegal, including the settlements in the OPTs by the International Court of Justice in 2004, and also emphasised that it was basically a land grabbing exercise rather than for security. Also read B'Tselem's excellent document called "Land Grab' which says that "Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the apartheid regime in South Africa" Almost every statement that is made above, twists the real facts. Thousands of Palestinians are imprisoned without trial are on hunger strike for over 40 days. Children are arrested and brutalised -and Israel has done everything possible to destroy any hopes for peace -as even Kerry, Cameron and numerous world leaders have stated. Even De Klerk says that Israel is becoming an apartheid state! Any Charity can speak out against the breaking of international law -even the RIBA. The Charity Commission specifically says so. This Motion is related to the ethical practice of architecture which is entirely the remit of the RIBA and UIA. Eminent Israeli and Palestinian historians, and the excellent work by Israeli archietcts Weizman and Segal, have set the record straight about the whole history of Israeli architecture, Zionism, using meticulously researched Israeli military archives, eye witness accounts and Britain's documentation of the Mandate while Hoffman and Alderman cling to Zionist mythology and propaganda (hasbara) issued by the Israeli embassy and Zionist historians - combined with the PR lobbies of AIPAC and BICOM that persist and being promoted in the media and to the world. But facts speak louder than sugar-coated words, and justice will be achieved sooner rather later.