Earlier this spring, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) passed a motion that demanded the suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects from the International Union of Architects "until it acts to resist projects on illegally-occupied land and observes international law and accords."
This morning, the AIA New York Chapter published a statement denouncing the RIBA resolution, declaring "AIANY does not condone RIBA’s decision to request action based solely on disagreements over local Israeli policies."
Here's AIANY's full statement:
"The AIA New York Chapter (AIANY) has denounced the proposal submitted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Union of Architects (UIA).
On May 1, 2014, AIANY wrote to Harry Rich, Chief Executive of RIBA. In the letter, AIANY asks the RIBA Board to overrule its advisory council’s recent proposal to UIA that would seek to exclude IAUA’s membership from UIA, claiming that the national organization is complicit in the construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with other violations of international law. The letter, drafted by AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, and AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, was unanimously approved by the AIANY Executive Committee and the Chapter’s Board of Directors.
AIANY believes that RIBA’s decision, based on disagreements over local Israeli policies, is antithetical to UIA’s mission to unite all architects. The Chapter’s letter to RIBA proposes dialogue and inclusion, noting that UIA affords architects from around the world the opportunity to get together to resolve issues about practice and policy. According to Brown, “The situation in the Middle East has generated profound debates for decades. It is, as often noted, one of the great issues of our time. Sanctions that attempt to inappropriately and destructively deny the mission of UIA and close lines of communication that are nothing but beneficial are harmful and misguided. The RIBA proposal should not be put before UIA for consideration.”
The RIBA advisory council voted to make a motion at the upcoming XXV International UIA Congresstaking place in Durban, South Africa from August 3 to August 7, 2014. To ensure that AIANY’s concerns are heard and opinions voiced on this matter, Bell and Brown will attend the UIA conference in Durban to take the ideas in the AIANY letter to the voting delegates and engage in productive dialogue with architects from around the world.
The letter to Harry Rich can be viewed here."