On March 19, the Council of the Royal Institute of British Architects [RIBA] voted to call on the International Union of Architects [UIA] to boycott Israel and suspend it from the prestigious international union because of Israel's allegedly “illegal” activities in the West Bank. The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), RIBA's sister organization,passed a similar resolution. Both were engineered by RIBA's Angela Brady.
This resolution is irrational and fundamentally anti-Semitic.
You can help STOP UIA from adopting the resolution.
Please act now and sign the StandWithUs letter. It will be delivered to the UIA trustees.
More than 3300 people have already signed.
Background on the RIBA resolution
The resolution and the process for passing it had all the usual hallmarks of BDS manipulations and deceptions.
The resolution is based on false accusations, half-truths, distortions and ignorance.
- Speakers included RIBA member Abe Hayeem, a virulently anti-Israel Israeli who is chair of the BDS group Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine. Angela Brady, past RIBA president, who pushed the resolution, falsely claimed that Israel was guilty of “land grabs, forced removals, killing the state and human rights, and reinforcement of apartheid.”
The resolution is anti-Semitic. It uniquely discriminates against only one nation in the world: the Jewish state.
- Precisely for that reason, RIBA felt compelled to include a disclaimer in its press release that ““It is not the case that the RIBA is in any way anti-Semitic.”
- There are 74 member countries in UIA, but RIBA felt no need to suspend membership of some of the most egregious human rights abusers, including Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Congo, China, North Korea, and Mauritania.
- As British architect Steven Games wrote, "To demonise Israel at the expense of all other parties lacks a necessary even handedness and it ill behooves a statutory royal body to behave in this way. If RIBA means to stand by this decision, it should either now call for masses of bans against other countries or renounce its royal charter.... No one could want to belong to a body that can be characterised as antisemitic, nor is it appropriate that an institutionally antisemitic body should retain its royal charter."
- Architect Daniel Leon denounced the resolution, “'To single out Israel can only be seen as discriminatory and prejudiced.” He added that it “demonise[s] a section of the profession without warrant”.
Boycott proponents manipulated the voting process by silencing opposition.
- RIBA's international committee had discussed a related resolution in January, but rejected it because “it was unlikely to make a constructive contribution to the wider discussion.” Boycott advocates were not deterred.
- Opponents of the motion were not allowed to attend the Council meeting if they were not Council members. Twenty RIBA architects had written a letter condemningthe resolution as “misguided” and “dishonourable,” and 26 others had written a letter urging rejection of the resolution. They complained that they had not beenforewarned about the resolution and were not allowed to attend the meeting.
- The resolution passed only by a vote of 23 to 16, with 10 abstentions, a tiny percentage of RIBA's 40,000members worldwide.
- The boycott campaign was not spontaneous nor a response to recent events. As BDS leader PACBI (Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) proudly wrote, “The campaign initiated and worked for over seven years by Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP) was brought to fruition by great teamwork and by the courageous action of the RIBA's past President Angela Brady.” The resolution was part of a long term strategy to isolate and demonize Israel.
The resolution violates core UIA principles of non-discrimination and non-politicization.
- “The UIA's goal is to unite the architects of the world without any form of discrimination." --UIA website
- Prize-winning American architects condemned the RIBA resolution.
- “I find this incredible that the RIBA which I thought of as being an extremely honourable institution would vote or agitate for sanctions against Israel." -- Renowned American architect Richard Meier
- The Riba resolution has been “fiercely” criticized, including by the UK's own “Solo Practitioner's Group.”