Leading British architects have accused their counterparts in Israel of complicity in schemes that contribute to the “social, political and economic oppression of Palestinians”.
The architects, including Will Alsop, Terry Farrell, Richard MacCormac, Royal Institute of British Architects president Jack Pringle and president-elect Sunand Prasad, have signed a petition organised by the group Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine.
“APJP asserts that the actions of our fellow professionals working with these enterprises are clearly unethical, immoral and contravene universally recognised professional codes of conduct,” a spokesman said. “We ask the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) to meet their professional obligations to declare their opposition to this inhuman occupation.”
Mr Alsop told Building Design magazine that they felt compelled to act. “This is not against Israel, it’s for Palestine,” he said. “I think the Palestinians are living in a prison. I’d like fellow colleagues in Israel to feel some responsibility about this shabby treatment. Architects are a fairly humanitarian lot and perhaps they could help.”
But the intervention was attacked by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Its chief executive, Jon Benjamin, said: “What they are saying is that they have a certain view and that Israeli architects must publicly declare that to be their position as well.” Mr Benjamin said Israeli Arabs and Jews were working together on numerous low-profile but worthy projects in the occupied territories: “The two sides should be encouraged to work together.”
Guardian Unlimited (UK)
May 26, 2007