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ROGERS WARNED OF 'THREATS'

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NEWS

Richard Rogers and Charles Jencks should expect threats of violence due to their stance on Palestine, a Jewish academic who protested against Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories has warned.

Biologist Steven Rose, who was castigated in 2002 after organising an academic boycott of Israel, said that Rogers and Jencks could receive similar treatment.

The warning comes after the two high-profile names added their weight to the recently formed Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP), which met in London for the first time last week.

Rose, who received threatening messages when he spoke out against Israel, said: 'Architecture and planning are an integral part of the fascist apartheid state.

'Anyone who puts their head above the parapet must expect to receive a backlash, both from friends of Israel and organised Zionists.

'I'm sure [Rogers et al] will find themselves under similar pressure from those seeking to get revenge. This might also include blocking contracts they are bidding for.' Rogers introduced and funded the meeting, which was held at his London headquarters, last Thursday.

And Jencks told the AJ that he would have no hesitation in promoting an economic boycott of Israel because of the pivotal role that planners and architects have played in the 'Israeli occupation'.

Jencks described how Rogers stood up in front of an assembled throng of up to 60 of architecture's best known names - including Ted Cullinan, Peter Ahrends and Sunand Prasad - and introduced the secretive meeting.

Jencks told the AJ: 'Architects are committed to the quality of people's environment, and that's often benign.

'We're not always aware of what it's being used for, but that's becoming clear now.

Architecture and planning is being used by the Israeli state, leaving Palestinians in unsustainable enclaves.' Former London Borough of Camden architect Neave Brown also told the AJ he was not against the idea of economic sanctions against Israel in principle, but refused to comment further.

APJP formalised its official aims in a statement issued this week. It has condemned the annexation of Palestinian land and the construction of the 'Separation Wall' in the West Bank.

Crucially, the group has made clear that it holds all design professionals involved in 'appropriating land and natural resources' from Palestinian territory to be 'complicit in social, political and economic oppression' and to be 'in violation of their professional code of ethics.' Rose, and his wife Hilary, also an academic, came to prominence four years ago when they spearheaded an academic boycott of Israel after linking the state's actions with those of apartheid-era South Africa.

They backed a gradual 'cultural and economic boycott' of Israel, which attracted international support.

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