Frank Gehry backs settlement boycott

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry

Two prominent Jewish artistic figures have announced their support for a boycott of Israeli settlements.

Conductor Daniel Barenboim and architect Frank Gehry have added their names to a list of public figures expressing solidarity with Israeli artists who refuse to perform in the West Bank.

It follows the decision by Mr Gehry earlier in 2010 to abandon his role in the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Museum of Tolerance project in Jerusalem because of controversy over its location.

Born Ephraim Owen Goldberg, the Canadian architect is known for his work on buildings including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

He once said: “If you’re raised a Jewish kid, Israel’s the most important place in the world, where there’s some sense of belonging when all else fails.”

Mr Barenboim, the acclaimed Israeli musician and founder of the West East Divan Orchestra, which includes Jewish and Arab members, has also voiced his support, joining Hollywood stars including Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon and British activist Vanessa Redgrave.

Jewish actors Ed Asner, the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s animated film Up, and The Princess Bride star Mandy Patinkin are also backing the boycott.

International support for the boycott has been organised by an American organisation, the Jewish Voice for Peace.

The JVP’s deputy director, Cecilie Surasky, said: “We hope Israeli architects will be inspired to launch their own campaign to refuse to work in the settlements."

Last updated: 9:16am, September 22 2010