Art gallery removes ‘one-sided’ statement on Palestine

The Whitworth Art Gallery told complainants the statement on its website had not been intended to cause division


An art gallery in Manchester has removed its statement of solidarity with Palestine following an intervention from the charity UK Lawyers for Israel.

On Tuesday this week the Whitworth Art Gallery, which belongs to the University of Manchester, posted a statement on its website expressing solidarity and support for “decolonisation” in Palestine.    

In a complaint made to gallery director Alistair Hudson, representatives from UKLFI argued the statement was “one-sided” and “expressed no solidarity with Israelis who had been killed or forced to take cover from rockets, in bomb shelters.”

The lawyers also contended that the gallery’s intervention was “divisive” and “likely to cause fractions” at a vulnerable time for the Jewish community and its institutions.

According to UKLFI, Mr Hudson was “very understanding” and receptive to the charity’s comments.

The gallery director reportedly assured complainants the statement had not been intended to cause division.

It was removed the same Tuesday from the Whitworth’s website and UKLFI representatives say they were told more consideration would be given to balance in future statements. 

Daniel Berke, a director at UKLFI, said: “I am pleased with how quickly and properly the Whitworth addressed this issue once it was raised, though I am of course disappointed that an intervention was necessary.”

Sam Green, a Director at UKLFI, added: “Working with the local community, UKLFI started an engagement with the Whitworth to ensure that political issues like this are handled in a balanced and sensitive way.”

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