South Africa during the apartheid era was the only country to be thrown out of the International Union of Architects. Will Israel be the second? This issue is now on the union’s agenda.Did you catch the actual news buried in this anti-Israel diatribe?
Last month, the Royal Institute of British Architects resolved to ask the IUA to expel the Israel Association of United Architects from its ranks until the latter organization expressed opposition to illegal construction in the occupied territories, and took action against those Israeli professionals involved in construction and planning there. RIBA called upon the IAUA to abide by the international union's resolutions from 2005 and 2009, which condemn any act that violates the Fourth Geneva Convention (which protects civilian populations in occupied lands), including construction or development involving ethnic discrimination in illegally conquered territories.
The UIA’s upcoming congress will take place in August in Durban, South Africa, which in itself is quite symbolic. While the UIA’s agencies considered bringing up for a vote at that international event the RIBA demand to ban the Israeli architect's association – the UIA has now decided not to do so. But even if the vote is not taking place, the damage to the IAUA – and perhaps to Israeli architects in general, regardless of their individual political leanings – has been done. The mere threat of expulsion from the UIA, an organization that's more respected than important, constitutes yet another link in the chain of efforts to isolate Israeli society from the community of nations.
Since the call was issued by the British group to ban the Israelis – at the initiative of an organization called Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, whose members are active in RIBA – the IAUA's leadership had been working feverishly to thwart the vote, which would have had negative consequences. But, the Israeli association came by this situation honestly: Its insistence on claiming that it is an exclusively professional organization with no political agenda has led it to this point. Its statement that it does not concern itself with political issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that each of its members behaves according to his own world view, sounds hollow in the international arena.
The mantra “I personally do not build in the territories” is no longer a solid defense. After all, being apolitical does not mean being neutral; rather, it is tantamount to taking a stance supporting the status quo. Since architecture is a tool through which political policy is implemented, even if not all the members of the IAUA are involved in planning and construction in the territories, the local organization representing them is now being asked to take a moral stance and use the profession as a tool for implementing it – with or without a decision by RIBA or other agencies.
Here it is again, in the second sentence of the third paragraph:
While the UIA’s agencies considered bringing up for a vote at that international event the RIBA demand to ban the Israeli architect's association – the UIA has now decided not to do so.
RIBA failed to even bring the issue to be on the agenda - let alone to have it be voted upon. The Israel haters utterly failed. But Haaretz cannot stomach such bad news, so they write an entire article as if Israel's architects have been banned or are in imminent danger of being banned.
They are not.
(Haaretz also throws in that Judea and Samaria are "illegally conquered territories." Even if one holds that the occupation is illegal [which is not true either, since occupation is by definition a legal construct] there is no way to say that the West Bank was "illegally conquered," given that Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 and was thus the aggressor.)