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Brady’s Israeli motion branded ‘discriminatory and prejudiced’

Former-RIBA president Angela Brady’s motion calling for the suspension of Israeli architects from the International Architects Union (UIA) has come under further fire

An organisation called Constructive Dialogue, which had sent a letter to RIBA Council members prior to Wednesday’s council meeting, has slammed the RIBA’s decision to pass the motion which was carried by 23 votes in favour, with 16 against and 10 abstentions.

Brady was angered over the Israeli Association of United Architects’ (IAUA) failure to condemn Israeli architects who help sustain Israel’s policy to allow Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory, and its failure to back the UIA’s 2005 Resolution 13.

But Daniel Leon, a spokesman for the organisation which promotes peaceful coexistence in Israel and Palestine said: ‘To single out Israel can only be seen as discriminatory and prejudice. Reviewing the other members of the UAI, I note Syria and North Korea are there - I trust there will be a follow up motion for the RIBA Council to condemn these countries too, along with Russia, Turkey, and China.

To single out Israel can only be seen as discriminatory and prejudice

‘I would like to add that the motion notes the UIA as “international guardian of professional and ethical standards in our profession”. If they fulfil that role have they sanctioned architects in North Korea and Syria who have worked for their despotic regimes? Do they now intend to? Why have the RIBA voted to focus on Israel as the greatest sinners in the world?

‘Also the RIBA motion has totally twisted the meaning of the UIA motion it pretends to uphold. The UIA motion doesn’t single out any country or company and it doesn’t make any demands. Pretending that this is a logical extension of the UIA position is just a disingenuous.’

Excluding the IAUA would be a counter-productive move that could reinforce prejudices

He added: ‘I am desperate for an immediate peace agreement between all parties in the region, and 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. 

‘Whatever has been said, the passing of this motion does amount to a boycott, which has been universally recognised as being destructive within a complex situation.

‘I seek greater dialogue, mutual understanding and respect, and I feel that architects can play a significant role in the pursuit. Many Israeli architects are working on projects that engender these values. These architects we should celebrate and encourage rather than seek to excluding them.’

The motion which has the backing of both the RIBA and 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’.

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 20.3.14)

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 (UIA), 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 UIA’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 (UIA)

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 UIA’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 UIA 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 UIA, making this motion discriminatory. 

A call to exclude the IAUA from the UIA 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 UIA 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)

  • iain meek

    Can British architects be banned from the UIA until they regain their senses and agree that Gibralter and Ulster be handed back?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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