By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz – 21 Sept 2010
World-renowned architect Frank Gehry and the legendary pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim joined Tuesday the international campaign in support of the Israeli actors’ refusal to perform in the new cultural center of Ariel, according to the website of Jewish Voices for Peace.
The boycott statement has been signed by over 200 artists, including Jennifer Tilly, James Schamus, Tony Kushner, Harold Prince and others.
Gehry, the architect of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, recently pulled out of desiging the Museum of Tolerance planned to be built in Jerusalem on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery.
Cecilie Surasky, Jewish Voice for Peace Deputy Director, commended Gehry for his support.
“It is particularly critical for architects to speak out against the ongoing construction of Jewish-only communities on Palestinian land,” she said, adding that “architects and planners are the key implementers of the Israeli policy of taking and brutally occupying Palestinian land in violation of international law. For Mr. Gehry to take such a moral stand once and for all ends the mythical firewall between architecture, policy, and human rights.”
“We hope Israeli architects will be inspired to launch their own campaign to refuse to work in the settlements,” Surasky added.
The Jewish Voice for Peace website published a statement saying that “as American actors, directors, critics and playwrights, we salute our Israeli counterparts for their courageous decision.”
“They’ve made a wonderful decision,” the statement added, “and they deserve the respect of people everywhere who dream of justice. We stand with them”.
The “artists’ boycott” stirred growing controversy in Israel, with calls to stop the funding to the artists who refuse to perform in Ariel – a city of slightly above 18,000 people, most of whom are not religious.