Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Saturday 13 April 2013

Portuguese Architect Defies BDS Bullies & Accepts Israeli Prize

Question: What do these people have in common, besides their profession?

Charles Jencks, Architect, Historian, Writer and Critic, UK/USA; Ted Cullinan, CBE, RA, Winner RIBA Royal Gold Medal 2008; Will Alsop, RA, OBE:, Winner Stirling Prize 2000, UK; Eva Jiricna, Winner Jane Drew Prize; Neave Brown, Architect, Artist, UK; Cezary Bednarski, MSc DipArch RIBA FRSA, UK; Kate Mackintosh, Architect, UK; Jake Brown, Architect, UK; Louis Hellman, Architect, Cartoonist, UK; Ed Hall, Architect, Banner maker, Turner Prize associate, UK; Walter Hain, Architect, UK; Bob Giles, Architect, UK; Dr. Yara Sharif, PhD, Univ.of Westminster, Architect UK & Ramallah; Nasser Golzari, NGA, Architect, UK, Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University;  Paul Broches, FAIA, Partner, Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, LLP, New York; David Berridge, AADipl RIBA; Gail Waldman, Architect, UK; Martin O’Shea, RIBA, UK; Michael Goulden,Architect, Wales; John Murray, Architect, UK; Graeme Bristol, Architect, UK; Jan Dobrowolski, Architect UK; Frank Agostino de Marco, Architect, UK; Franziska Amacher, Cambridge Mass., Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) USA; Farooq Rafiq, Planner UK; Kim Linden, Planner, Melbourne Australia; Terry Meade, Lecturer, University of Brighton; Chris Teague, Dip,Arch Hons, Architect UK; Eric Wojchik, Planner, Stornoway; Klaus Faulhaber, Architect, UK; Nick Wood, Architect, UK; Sara Wood, MA,UK; John Hodge, RIBA, Architect,UK

Answer: They are among the signatories (mainly British, Swedish, and Arab) who signed a petition dated 27 March imploring the distinguished Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura to join the cultural boycott of Israel by refusing to accept the prestigious and lucrative Wolf Prize for Architecture:
'....[It is] bestowed by the President of Israel in the national parliament, the Knesset. These are leaders of Israel who were responsible for colonial actions that have resulted in illegal territorial expansion, mass killings and horrific urban destruction in wars and war crimes against the Palestinians under Israeli occupation. This violence is pursued against the surrounding states such as Lebanon, and recently in two horrific and murderous assaults on Gaza, in acts of wanton killing and urbicide, using advanced weaponry. It is ironic that Israel is awarding a prize for the practice of architecture, which is being used in its own country as an instrument of war, apartheid, oppression, humiliation, expropriation and ethnic cleansing, all totally at odds with our humane profession....
 The statement that the prize is awarded “independently regardless of gender, sex or political attitudes” is disingenuous, since ironically, Israel’s racist institutional discrimination against the Palestinian people, both as its own citizens, and in the illegally occupied territories has been condemned repeatedly by the UN and human rights organizations. These awards are used as cover to project an image of a modern, democratic state, and to divert attention away from its ethnocratic apartheid policies towards the Palestinians under its control, which they have pursued with impunity for 65 years....
 Rejecting this prize would indicate a  much needed moral stand against the escalating war crimes and injustices pursued with complete impunity by the Israeli state while awarding this prize. It would be a powerful statement of support for justice, freedom and dignity of the oppressed and would be an achievement of greater honour, a courageous  affirmation of the humanity of our profession.'
The petition is only one of several demands that Mr Souto de Moura refuse the Prize.  Another document, dated 17 February, spoke of "Israel’s barbaric and colonial Occupation of the West Bank, on stolen Palestinian land," "ethnic cleansing and erasure of Palestinian presence on their historic homeland, including their culture, heritage, history and memory," "Israel’s brutal military and political agenda," and so forth, and asserted that
"Israel is anxious to appear as a modern, high tech and advanced Western style democracy, but despite its racist segregation, and virtual imprisonment of the Palestinian people in the OPTs, it is keen to offer prizes such as the Wolf Prize and other accolades to whitewash its dark practices that continue with impunity against international law and human rights .The awarding of prizes to artists, writers, scientists and those who excel in their field, are used to re-brand the Israeli state, as a cover to the crimes being committed in the Occupied Territories and the  discrimination in land and housing within Israel. We urge you not to allow your name to be used to further the Israeli propaganda agenda.
The people who will be handing you the prize have been leaders of Israel who were responsible for actions that have resulted in illegal territorial expansion, mass killings and horrific urban destruction in wars against surrounding states such as in Syria, Lebanon and recently in two murderous assaults on Gaza, in acts of wanton killing and urbicide, using advanced weaponry.
 To accept the Wolf Prize would be giving credibility and respectability to such a state. We urge you, in solidarity with the besieged Palestinians, to reject this prize, which will give you much greater prestige as a supporter of human rights. You would be hearing the call of Palestinian civil society to boycott such events and awards offered by Israel.  This will send a clear signal to Israel as a rejection of its apartheid policies and crimes against the Palestinian people, and will perhaps bring home their need to change their inhuman and destructive course, until there is a true peace with justice for all in Israel/Palestine."
 (Read more here)

Nevertheless, Mr Souto de Moura, despite apparently critising Israeli policy in the past, has withstood the badgering and announced that he will in fact be accepting the Wolf Prize.

To judge from the invective spewed out by some of its representatives on social media, the response of the BDS movement is much beating of breasts and gnashing of teeth.

So, Three Cheers for Mr Souto de Moura, and may there be many more defeats for BDS!


  1. If anyone would know about "horrific urban destruction," I suppose it would be a group of 'activist architects' including Neave Brown and Ted Cullinan. Their petition is just a haphazard collection of buzz words and phrases completely without context, which of course makes perfect sense, coming as it does from such a group of folks.

    Good on Mr. Souto de Moura for standing up to the bigoted BDS bullies.

  2. Miriam Margolyes and Omar Barghouti defend Iain Banks

  3. Thank you so much... i didnt have the knowledge in this now i get an idea about this.. thks a lot

    MSc-Naval Architecture & Ship Building


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