Friday, February 10, 2006

Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine Threatens Israel Boycott

An article in today's The Independent reports: "A group including some of Britain's most prominent architects is considering calling for an economic boycott of Israel's construction industry in protest at the building of Israeli settlements and the separation barrier in the Occupied Territories."

Israeli architect Eyal Weizman, director of the Center for Research Architecture at Goldsmith's College, London, agreed: "A boycott would be totally legitimate...The wall and the settlements have been deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice and we should boycott any company which does business, any architects that participate - anyone facilitating these human rights violations and war crimes."

Weizman was featured in an excellent New York Times article ( Jan. 1, '06) on the debate over the role of Israeli architects in the building of the apartheid wall.

Charles Jencks, a member of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, is one of Britain's leading landscape architects. He is the author, among other books, of The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977), often credited with having popularized the term, post-modernism. Jencks is quoted by The Independent as saying: "There reaches a certain point where an architect can't sit on the fence. Not to stand up to it would be to be complicit."

Jencks described what the Independent politely calls the "separation barrier" as "a contorted, crazy, mad, divisive, drunken thing".

Jenckes went on: "In 10 years' time its builders will see it as a great folly... Architecturally it is madness. I understand fully that security is the problem for Israel and they have the right to protect themselves. But this is not the solution...It is an extremist measure which forments extremism, by incarcerating and intimidating Palestinians." Jencks "called for architects to gradually increase pressure on Israeli."

(Chalk up one for post-modernist theorists.)

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