Wiesenthal Centre to International Union of Architects: “Reject British Architects Union (RIBA) Campaign to Suspend Israel”

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E-mail: csweurope@gmail.com

“Political agitators aim to hijack your profession and blemish your mission ‘to unite the architects of the world without any form of discrimination’.”

26 March 2014

In a letter to International Union of Architects’ (IUA) President, Prof. Albert Dubler, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, lamented that, “since 2008, your British member – the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) - has allowed itself to become the victim of an extremist group of spoilers that use tactics redolent of the Nazis' 1930’s boycott campaign, ‘Kaufen Nicht bei Juden’ (‘Do Not Buy from Jews’).”

The letter noted that “IUA’s list of member organizations include:
- Belarus: the last Fascist-style dictatorship on European soil
- China: the abusive occupying power of Tibet
- Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea: with the world’s largest percentage of its population incarcerated in prison camps and, reportedly, execution in gas chambers
- Sudan: responsible for an ongoing genocide in Darfur
- Syrian Arab Republic: in its third year of mass murder of its own citizens, now numbering over 160,000 dead, hundreds of thousands wounded and over a million displaced refugees
- Turkey: occupying power of northern Cyprus following an unprovoked aggression.”

The letter asked: “which of these human rights offenders is the only target of RIBA’s discrimination?
– None of the above.
-It is Israel, the heir to the same boycott victims of the aforementioned Nazis".
The letter also pointed that "RIBA’s former Chair,Angela Brady, has now launched a motion against the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) – comprising over 7,000 Jewish and Arab Israeli members.”

The Centre recalled that “this campaign began in 2008 with a bizarre comparison of Israel with Zimbabwe’s dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. Last week,it called for boycott and the suspension of the IAUA from the International Union of Architects (IUA), to be made effective at your August 2014 Congress in Durban, South Africa.”

The Centre continued, “it is indeed ironic that collective sanctions against the architects of the Jewish state – singled out from their 1,300,000 professional peers included in your 130 member states and territories – is planned to take place in Durban. This was the site of the 2001 so-called United Nations World Conference against Racism which degenerated into the most violent antisemitic hate-fest since the Holocaust.”

Samuels emphasized that he would “never forget the siege of the tiny Durban Jewish synagogue community centre during Friday night prayers, by over a thousand antisemites brandishing posters of Adolf Hitler, proclaiming ‘He was right and should have finished the job’.”

The Centre impressed on Dubler that “there is no place for racism in your Union. The role of architects is to inspire, build and beautify our world – not to be hijacked by political agitators.”

“Reject the RIBA campaign and do not allow a second ‘Durban’ to blemish your own mission statement: ‘to unite the architects of the world without any form of discrimination’”, concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 00(33)609770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).