Israeli architects applaud Riba retreat from call for boycott

By Marcus Dysch, June 26, 2014

The British architects' union's decision not to pursue an anti-Israel motion has been welcomed by its Israeli counterpart.

Members of Riba voted in March to call on the International Union of Architects (UIA) to suspend Israeli members.

Riba's council had been due to debate the issue last week, but members were asked only to ratify the creation of a new international division.

The UIA had already indicated that it would not consider the Riba motion at it annual conference in August.

Riba president Stephen Hodder said: "The UIA response that the call is outside their 'political scope' brings the matter to a close."

Yitzhak Lipovetsky-Lir, former head of the Israeli Association of United Architects, said his colleagues were satisfied with the outcome. "As far as I understand, Riba has no intention of going on with the motion. It's a good decision."

In a statement on behalf of architects who opposed the motion, Stephen Games thanked Mr Hodder, "for resolving this issue in a way that all parties can now feel satisfied with".

It has also emerged that the Charity Commission had written to Riba warning that the motion could be in contravention of its charitable status.

It is understood that Riba's actions have cost the organisation around £100,000 in lost bookings. The JC revealed in April that a Beth Din was refusing to cater events at Riba's headquarters, and families were thought to be cancelling bar and bat mitzvahs which had been planned for its banqueting suite.

Last updated: 5:24pm, June 26 2014