Riba says Israel boycott issue is now closed

By Marcus Dysch, June 20, 2014
Riba president Stephen Hodder (Photo: Jamesfranklingresham)

Riba president Stephen Hodder (Photo: Jamesfranklingresham)

The president of the Royal Institute of British Architects has said the organisation will not discuss its controversial stance on Israel any further.

Riba's council had been expected to debate an anti-Israel motion at a meeting in London on Thursday.

In March the institute's members voted for a motion calling on the International Union of Architects (UIA) to suspend Israeli members.

It was initially believed that Riba would seek to alter that stance at this week's meeting, but instead members were only asked to ratify the creation of an international division.

Riba's international group will look at "the Institute’s role in engaging with communities facing civil conflict and natural disaster".

It is not yet clear whether the attempt to stall further discussion on the anti-Israel stance will appease Jewish architects who have repeatedly complained to Riba leaders. Israeli architects had threatened to walk out of the UIA if the matter was taken further.

The UIA had previously said it would not consider Riba's request when architects from around the world meet for their annual conference in South Africa in August.

Following Thursday's meeting Riba president Stephen Hodder said: "I am pleased that, through our new and expert international working group, we will be able to deliver a positive and constructive response to working with international communities.

“Riba Council’s resolution to call on the UIA to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects has been fulfilled.

"The UIA response that the call is outside their ‘political scope’ brings the matter to a close."

He said institute members who chose to speak out on the matter in future would be doing so in a personal capacity.

Last updated: 3:44pm, June 20 2014