Jewish Human Rights Group Says Royal Institute of British Architects Reliving Nazi Boycott Campaign
Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center called out the Royal Institute of British Architects for allowing “itself to become the victim of an extremist group of spoilers that use tactics redolent of the Nazis’ 1930s boycott campaign, ‘Kaufen Nicht bei Juden‘ – ‘Do Not Buy from Jews.'”
In a letter to International Union of Architects President Prof. Albert Dubler, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels wrote, “Political agitators aim to hijack your profession and blemish your mission ‘to unite the architects of the world without any form of discrimination.'”
Samuels called out their hypocrisy for choosing to boycott Israel, as he listed the regimes that are members of the group which have received no sanction.
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 out that “RIBA’s former Chair, Angela Brady, has now launched a motion against the Israeli Association of United Architects – comprising over 7,000 Jewish and Arab Israeli members.”
Samuels said 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, to be made effective at your August 2014 Congress in Durban, South Africa.”
“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,” Samuels wrote. “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 wrote that he would “never forget the siege of the tiny Durban Jewish synagogue community center during Friday night prayers, by over a thousand anti-Semites brandishing posters of Adolf Hitler, proclaiming ‘He was right and should have finished the job.'”
Samuels told 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.”
The architect organization said it voted to sanction the Israeli architects group because some of its members work on building projects in areas claimed by the Palestinian Authority for a state.