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Brady’s bid to suspend Israeli architects gets RIBA ok

Former RIBA president Angela Brady’s motion, calling for the suspension of Israeli professional body from the International Architects Union (IAU), has been approved

The motion against the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA), which was tabled at RIBA Council yesterday (19 March), was carried by 23 votes in favour, with 16 against and 10 abstentions.

The move had already received the backing of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) last week, but had come under fire from members from Constructive Dialogue who claimed it was ‘misguided and one-sided’ (see below).

Brady’s motion

‘The Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) has paid no regard to the UIA Resolution 13 of 2005. The RIAS calls on the UIA, as the international guardian of professional and ethical standards in our profession, to take appropriate action. The UIA membership of the Israeli Association of United Architects should be suspended until these illegal projects end, and international law, the UIA Accords and Resolution 13 are observed.’

Brady commented: ‘It’s a great day for RIBA ethics in architecture. This was a focused motion at a key time -when the world wants this illegal building on occupied land by Israeli in Palestine to stop now - as it contravenes international law and Cameron, Obama and many others including all UN state this. 

‘We have added our voice in a strong way. This was a sensitive debate for justice and to add positive value.

Architects need to stand up for what is right

‘This is not a boycott this is the affirmation that in terms of the UIA code of ethics and professionalism, architects should not practice in occupied territory.

‘We as architects need to stand up for what is right. This will open the way for other similar issues to come forward.’

The former RIBA president is angered over the IAUA’s failure to condemn Israeli architects who help sustain Israel’s policy to allow Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory, and its failure to back the IAU’s 2005 Resolution 13.

That resolution condemned ‘development projects and the construction of buildings on land that has been ethnically purified or illegally appropriated, and projects based on regulations that are ethnically or culturally discriminatory’.

Previous story (AJ 14.3.14)

Brady tables RIBA motion against Israeli ‘land grab’

Angela Brady is to table a motion at RIBA Council calling for the suspension of The Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Architects Union (IAU)

The former RIBA president is angered over the IAUA’s failure to condemn Israeli architects who help sustain Israel’s policy to allow Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory, and its failure to back the IAU’s 2005 Resolution 13.

That resolution condemned ‘development projects and the construction of buildings on land that has been ethnically purified or illegally appropriated, and projects based on regulations that are ethnically or culturally discriminatory’.

Brady’s motion (see below), which has the backing of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) follows a failed attempt in January when the RIBA International Committee ‘resolved that this action should not be pursued’.

Brady’s motion for the RIBA Council on 19th March

‘The Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) has paid no regard to the UIA Resolution 13 of 2005. The RIAS calls on the UIA, as the international guardian of professional and ethical standards in our profession, to take appropriate action. The UIA membership of the Israeli Association of United Architects should be suspended until these illegal projects end, and international law, the UIA Accords and Resolution 13 are observed.’

‘The International Committee resolved that it is beyond the role of the RIBA to push the IAU for a sanction against Israel’s architectural community,’ a spokesperson told the AJ.

‘There are complex political and economic drivers in the region that cannot be resolved solely by expulsion of Israeli architects. The Committee agreed that the Institute could do even more to assist local architects in improving conditions for communities affected by civil conflict and natural disaster.

‘Council members may propose motions to Council irrespective of the views of the committee concerned. Clearly this is a very complex issue and one that members are welcome to discuss,’ added the spokesperson.

But this time round Brady is using RIAS for extra leverage as the Scottish Incorporation is affiliated to the UIA through RIBA. Brady will use the motion to call upon the RIBA to represent the RIAS’s view to the UIA Council.

The RIAS president, Iain Connelly, said: ‘The Incorporation acts on an international stage for an increasingly global profession. Angela Brady and George Oldham’s [Oldham is a joint RIBA and RIAS member] motion is an important one, and it is right that it now has our support.”

Brady said: ‘I am delighted that the Royal Incorporation has taken such a strong stance on this matter. It is important that our profession stands up for human rights in this way. This is an instance where architects are culpable, perhaps they will listen to their fellow architects.’

Postscript

Letter sent to RIBA Council members from Constructive Dialogue

Dear RIBA Council Member

Please forgive this unsolicited email but I wish to present a counter-point to a motion proposed at the RIBA Council this forthcoming Wednesday.

Angela Brady’s motion to council against the IAUA is misguided and one-sided. 

While it is legitimate to criticise Israeli Government policy, it is dishonourable to single out Israeli Architects. 

There are architects in many parts of the world whom find themselves in conflict areas but are welcome in the IAU, making this motion discriminatory. 

A call to exclude the IAUA from the IAU would be a counter-productive move that would reinforce prejudices and encourage conflict, rather than supporting the very professionals that are best placed in the region to promote mutual understanding. 

Our energy should rather be focused on positive work that construction professionals can do to advance peace and coexistence. Many Israeli architects have used their experiences and knowledge to create projects that help the architectural community across the world, and we, as members of the RIBA, would like to see our international union building bridges/helping our fellow workers, not abandoning them. 

It is imperative not to transport the conflict in the Middle East into the architectural profession but rather use the profession and resources available to encourage dialogue and cooperation, especially during a time of peace talks.

Furthermore, the international committee has already stated that ‘it is beyond the role of the RIBA to push the IAU for a sanction against Israel’s architectural community.’

If you have any comments or queries on the above please do not hesitate to drop me a line to discuss.

Your sincerely,

Daniel Leon
Marc Levinson
Daniel Rosenfelder
Zoe Donoff
Kevan Fehler
Richard Mitzman
Susie Clapham
Peter Ungar
David Rosenberg
Nathalie Rozencwajg
Ilan Feigenbaum
Josephine Glyn
Winston Newman
Andrew Abdulezer
Michael Katz
Nicholas Brill
Timothy Brittain-Catlin
Robert Hirschfield
Amos Goldreich
Dan Farshi
Steven Kingsley
Michael Brod
Danielle Tinero
Antony Joury
Jennifer Singer
Andrew Burns

Readers' comments (1)

  • Response to Dan Leon’s email to Councillors 19 March 2014

    Dan Leon is an apologist for Israel and has a vested interest in supporting it. This is a great example of Israeli ‘hasbara’ (sweetening the pill) with anodyne and meaningless talk about encouraging mutual understanding. Israeli architects have given their response over decades since the foundation of the Israeli State by building over the 500 destroyed villages and over the 93% of sequestered land from the Palestinians., and then illegally in the occupied territories since 1967.

    Here are the responses to each of Constructive Dialogue's points:

    1) "Angela Brady’s motion to council against the IAUA is misguided and one-sided."

    The motion is actually a very clear and reasonable proposal that an architectural body can raise to call to account the unprofessional and destructive activities that are against international law and cause untold suffering of the Palestinian people, that have been condemned by the UN and for which the world community calls for action to be taken by the high contracting parties. It is a call to redress very grave wrongs that have been committed for decades without restraint. It is in fact a very reasonable action that the RIBA has the responsibility to respond to.

    2) "While it is legitimate to criticise Israeli Government policy, it is dishonourable to single out Israeli Architects."

    It is Israel’s architects who knowingly are carrying out Israeli Government policy against international law, a policy of building illegal settlements that are built on stolen land and based the forced displacement of a whole people, evictions and house demolitions that are continuing with even greater ferocity, despite world condemnation. Not to take action would be singling out Israel for special treatment, since it claims to be a democracy. Israel's architects' practice which are closely linked to state and military policy make its position unique in the profession of architecture.

    3) "There are Architects in many parts of the world who find themselves in conflict areas but are welcome in the IAU, making this motion discriminatory."

    This reasoning cannot excuse Israeli architects from what they have been doing as part of the whole basis of their practice, that is completely tied up with the state’s policy and its military aims - which are the total control and suppression of a whole population, to deny them their civic rights in the occupied territories. This is one of the most comprehensive examples of a long standing oppression that is very part of Israel’s policy of domination of the Palestinian population , that has been directly compared to apartheid. This reasoning means that no malpractice by anyone should be highlighted and acted upon, or that all malpractice should be tackled at the same time. In this case the Palestinian civil society has asked for international action, since the force under which they are oppressed is impossible to resist on their own, in a non-violent way.
    It is in fact the policy of ‘land grab’, eviction and displacement and transfer that is the cause of the conflict. If this were to end the conflict would end –so this action is a good and moral cause.

    4) "A call to exclude the IAUA from the IAU would be a counter-productive move that would reinforce prejudices and encourage conflict, rather than supporting the very professionals that are best placed in the region to promote mutual understanding."

    What tosh! It is those professionals, who have been appealed to over the years, who have done precisely the opposite –continued to build in a massive real-estate enterprise, to their profit. They are doing nothing to promote mutual understanding -they are consolidating the conflict, and the IAUA has never condemned it.
    Check out this appeal to the IAUA in 2007. This has no reaction, and these projects are continuing and progressing:
    http://apjp.org/signatories/

    5) "Our energy should rather be focused on positive work that construction professionals can do to advance peace and coexistence. Many Israeli Architects have used their experiences and knowledge to create projects that help the Architectural community across the world, and we, as a members of the RIBA, would like to see our International Union building bridges/helping our fellow workers, not abandoning them."

    Yes, the Israeli architects are very good at helping other countries, while participating in the projects that wreck havoc on the Palestinian communities under their country's occupation, and also within Israel who are Israeli citizens like the Negev Bedouin which the Geneva Convention says the occupiers should protect.Instead they are being ethnically cleansed from areas to build new Jewish-only settlements. Where is the outcry from Israeli architects about that?

    6) "It is imperative not to transport the conflict in the Middle East into the Architectural profession but rather use the profession and resources available to encourage dialogue and cooperation, especially during a time of peace talks."

    It is this group that is exporting the Middle East conflict into the architectural profession! The RIBA has become Israeli occupied Territory as recently reported in the Jewish Chronicle.
    http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/118794/architect-institute-officials-seek-end-israel-boycott
    This is an old chestnut always brought up. It is Israel that has exported the conflict to surrounding Arab countries and to the world by its ignoring countless UN Resolutions -and exporting its arms and security apparatus that helps some of the world’s worst dictatorships to suppress their people in dissent. Palestinians are used as a laboratory and testing ground for Israel’s security and military weaponry, much of it based on architectural theory, that finesses the oppression of half the population. There are NGOs who try and encourage ‘dialogue’ -but for long decades this has achieved nothing. In fact it is during peace talks that illegal settlements are accelerated with greater frenzy.

    7) "Furthermore, The International Committee has already stated that ‘it is beyond the role of the RIBA to push the IAU for a sanction against Israel’s architectural community."

    This was misreported and some who attended the committee do not remember such a statement. In any case it is the RIBA Council that entirely has the role and remit to propose a sanction on a member country’s architectural association which is contravening a UIA Resolution and carrying out projects against international law and the Geneva conventions which are serious breaches and thus constitute war crimes. Not to take action would be irresponsible. To take action would upholding the ethics and professional integrity that are part of every associations’ code of Conduct, and also the UIA Accords.
    ”Netanyahu actually arguing about Israel's exceptionalism – its right to act according to its own principles rather than international norms – was the thing that the world should learn to love and embrace”. After 20 years of a failed peace process, it is time to stop indulging the fantasy version of Israel.” From the Guardian CiF.
    Why single out Israel? Because Israel singles itself out as being totally immune to international law, and claims to be a democracy while acting as an ethnocratic apartheid state.
    Israel always portrays itself as a victim wanting peace -pretending to have a peace process yet indulging in continual breaches of international law to maintain the status quo.
    Information is not enough. It must be acted on to have any value.
    Tutu said that remaining neutral makes one complicit in oppression

    ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN AND AROUND JERUSALEM (1)
    ""We'll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We'll insert a strip of Jewish settlements in between thePalestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlements right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years, neither the United Nations, nor the U.S.A, nobody, will be able to tear it apart." Ariel Sharon to Winston S. Churchill III in 1973.
    Grab every hilltop- Sharon

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