Israeli architects appeal to Cameron over RIBA motion
The Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to block a controversial RIBA motion against Israeli architects
The association’s head of foreign relations, Itzhak Lipovetzky is sending a letter to the British premier and is also petitioning Israel’s own foreign ministry after the RIBA agreed to press the International Architects Union (UIA) to suspend the membership of the Israeli architects’ representative body.
Lipovetzky told the Jerusalem Post: ‘When the British prime minister [David Cameron] was here, he promised not to boycott Israel. This was his statement in front of the Knesset.’
Designer Stephen Games branded the motion – calling on the International Architects Union (UIA) to suspend the membership of Israeli architects’ representatives – ‘biased’, ‘misconceived’ and ‘shameful’.
In a letter to RIBA president Stephen Hodder, he said: ‘No one could want to belong to a body that can be characterised as anti-semitic, nor is it appropriate that an institutionally anti-semitic body should retain its royal charter.’
However past president Angela Brady rebuffed criticism the motion she tabled was anti-semitic. Brady said she had acted following the IAUA’s continued failure to punish architects flouting the UIA’s 2005 Resolution 13 condemning the building of settlements on occupied land.
She added: ‘I am not anti-Semitic in anyway. Most people that are complaining are avoiding the issue; that motion was a focus on Israel and Palestine, on a situation recently highlighted by David Cameron and by Obama too.
She continued: ‘I am not talking about China or anywhere else and I’m not talking about who is worse than who and this is not a boycott. It is affirmation in terms of the UIA code of ethics and professionalism, that architects should not practice in occupied territories; it breaks international law.’
‘I have been to Palestine and I have seen at first-hand what is happening,’ she said.