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British Architects' Union Votes to Boycott Israel

Architects' union associated with North Korea boycotts Israeli union over 'settlements' and 'apartheid.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/24/2014, 10:08 AM

London (file)
London (file)
Reuters

The British architects' union has declared a boycott of its Israeli counterpart, in the latest development of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement's crusade targeting the Jewish state.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced on its internet site that it will act to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Union of Architects, reported Yisrael Hayom on Monday.

RIBA declared it would boycott IAUA until "it declares objection to construction in the settlements and stands by the demands of international law."

The boycott decision was reportedly passed in a RIBA council meeting last Wednesday, by a majority of 23 to 16 with ten abstentions.

At the meeting, former RIBA President Angela Brady said if the group didn't boycott Israel, it would implicitly support "land grabs, forced removals, killing the state [sic] and human rights, and reinforcement of apartheid," reports The Guardian.

However, other council members noted the horrific human rights abuses committed by other countries, such as North Korea, which is a member of RIBA. "Don't you think architects are designing prison camps and torture chambers there?" asked council member Francesca Weal at the meeting.

The BDS movement celebrated RIBA's move, with Rafeef Zaidah, a leader of the movement, claiming "architects and planners are central to Israel's colonization of Palestinian land and the forced displacement of Palestinian people."

Meanwhile, Prof. Baruch Baruch of IAUA said the "astonishing" decision was off-target because many members of the union are Arab citizens of Israel, while many more "are against settlements." He added "I don't think architects can be blamed for government policies. I don't think boycotts will help to solve any of the problems in the Middle East."

Boycotts and lawfare targeting Israel

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva is poised to vote on five condemnations of Israel this Thursday and Friday, reports Haaretz. One of them includes a call supporting boycotts and divestment from Judea and Samaria. No Israeli counteraction is being taken due to the Foreign Ministry strike, starting Monday.

An NGO Monitor report released two weeks ago, in time for British Prime Minister David Cameron's Israel visit, revealed that the UK, along with the European Union (EU) and other EU governments, is financing NGO lawfare against Israel's legal system.

The report exposes how the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has been acting to sabotage Israel's legal processes. It further reports that the UK granted £6 million (roughly $10 million) to NRC between 2011 and 2015 to influence Israeli policies and lobby for international sanctions against Israel. Between the UK, the EU, Norway and Sweden, NRC received over $20 million between 2011 and 2013.

Meanwhile, just this week it was reported that the British legal system, for the first time, is poised to adopt Islamic Sharia law, in a decision allowing solicitors to write Islamic wills denying women an equal share of inheritances and exclude non-Muslims altogether.