The Turner Prize-winning investigative team has announced that it is preparing an exhibition of its work at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester after the declaration of solidarity with Palestine was removed from the display.
Part of the exhibition deals with the violence used by Israeli forces against the Palestinians and was accused by British lawyers of “incendiary and inherently one-sided.” Israel (UKLFI), which advocates for Israeli causes.
Forensic Architecture, a team of architects, archaeologists and journalists whose digital models of crime scenes were cited as evidence before the International Criminal Court, demanded the closure of his exhibition “with immediate effect” after learning of the removal.
The removal of the statement followed the UKLFI campaign. A letter sent on 28 July by UKLFI to the University of Manchester, which controls the Whitworth Gallery, indicated that the exhibition could be through “outrageous language and representations”. [of Jewish people]”Violate the public obligation of the public sector in the field of equality. He argued that a comparison of Palestinian and black liberation struggles “appears to provoke racial discord.”
The intervention led to a meeting of representatives of the university, gallery, UKLFI and Jewish community groups in Manchester, where a decision was made to remove the statement.
Emails seen by the Guardian suggest forensic architecture director Eyal Weizman, a British-Israeli Professor at Goldsmiths, learned of the removal of the statement from blog post from UKLFI. “Because our work seems to have been compromised despite our strong objections, we demand that our exhibition be closed with immediate effect,” Weizman told the gallery.
The Cloud Studies show has been open since July 2, examining how pollution, chemical attacks and the aftermath of explosions affect marginalized people. It examined the use of tear gas and white phosphorus in Palestine, the chemical war in Syria, the use of tear gas against protesters in Chile, the effects of deliberate forest fires in Papua, and emphasized new new work on ecological racism in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley.”
A note entitled “Forensic Architecture stands with Palestine “. It stated: “We believe that this liberation struggle is inseparable from other global struggles against racism, white domination, anti-Semitism and colonial violence by the settlers, and we recognize its particularly close connection with the struggle for the liberation of Blacks around the world.”
Weizman told the Guardian: “I am amazed that the University of Manchester has forced the removal of the ‘solidarity with Palestine’ statement that is part of our exhibition.
“This statement refers to well-documented realities in Palestine, endorsed by major human rights groups.” That the University of Manchester did so under pressure from a self-proclaimed lobby group known to pursue a movement of extreme right-wing settlers in Israel, ignoring recognized principles of academic and artistic freedom and an insult to human rights principles. “
Weizman had in mind an episode two years ago when an event organized by the UKLFI in London with a representative of the far-right organization Regavi blocked by British Jews against the occupation of Israel. At the time, UKLFI Director Caroline Turner said Regavi “was certainly not a supporter of hatred” because he had taken action “against both Jewish and Arab intruders.”
UKLFI questioned the classification of its intervention as lobbying. “It expressed reasonable concerns,” the organization told the Guardian. Jonathan Turner, CEO of UKLFI, said: “In our view, the university has made a responsible decision that has allowed the continuous display of what went through the forensic architecture exhibition, although it was also misleading but removing an introduction that was pure propaganda. The decision of Forensic Architecture to withdraw the entire exhibition suggests that they are more interested in propaganda than in art. “
The University of Manchester was previously involved in a dispute over censorship of expressions of solidarity with Palestine. In 2017, the university censored the name of the Holocaust survivors’ conversation about Israel after Israeli diplomats declared that his account – “You are doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to me” – was tantamount to anti-Semitic hate speech.
In a statement given by the University of Manchester, Alistair Hudson, director of the Whitworth Gallery, said it was important that the exhibition remained at the exhibition, but that it was “suspended” on Sunday.
But he added: “We acknowledge the concerns expressed about the inclusion of this statement in the exhibition space and take it seriously, including how it could be received by gallery visitors and its potential impact on some communities in the city, community cohesion and the promotion of good relations. “