Cancellate il Padiglione “Israele” alla Biennale di Venezia!

Campagna Palestinese contro il Muro dell’Apartheid – www.StoptheWall.org

Contattaci per informazioni:

tel: +972-2-2971505 ; fax: +972-2-975123 , mail: global@stopthewall.org 

 

Contro l’Arte dell’Occupazione!

Cancellate il Padiglione “Israele” alla Biennale di Venezia!

 

Ramallah, 7 Settembre 2006  Come Campagna Palestinese contro il Muro dell’Apartheid siamo sgomenti nel constatare che la Biennale di Venezia di quest’anno si presta come piattaforma per la glorificazione di crimini di guerra e conquiste militari-coloniali, mascherate come opere d’arte. 

Il padiglione di Israele all’interno della sezione “Biennale Architettura” mostra un terrificante connubio di violazioni dei diritti umani, del diritto internazionale e delle più fondamentali norme etiche dell’arte del secondo dopo guerra mondiale.

Gli oggetti espositivi della mostra “LIFE SAVER – Typology of Commemoration in Israel – Architecture and Society” includono una rappresentazione del “Memoriale alla Brigata Negev” ed del “Museo della storia del Palmach”. Palmach, forza sionista paramilitare e terroristica vietata addirittura dalle autorità britanniche, concepiva ed eseguiva gran parte degli attacchi contro i 513 villaggi palestinesi distrutti e spopolati nel 1948 durante la “Nakba”. Quest’ultima era alla base della formazione dello stato d’Israele e ha comportato l’espulsione di oltre 800 000 Palestinesi. La brigata Negev, creata dal Palmach e ora parte dell’esercito israeliano d’occupazione, all’epoca eseguì la pulizia etnica dell’antica città palestinese di Ramle e si occupò dell’espulsione di oltre 110 000 beduini dal deserto del Negev.

Nonostante la mostra continui a glorificare gli “eroi” dei servizi segreti israeliani con una riproduzione del “museo nazionale dei caduti dei servizi segreti israeliani”, non si possono e devono dimenticare le “esecuzioni extra-guidiziali” e le torture che questo corpo israeliano ha commesso e sta commettendo quotidianamente non solo contro la popolazione palestinese.

Alla mostra, per tutti coloro che si interessano di violazioni del diritto internazionale e delle risoluzioni dell’ONU, è presente anche una rappresentazione del “Memoriale di Ammunition Hill per la Guerra dei Sei Giorni”, costruito su terra occupata nel ‘67. Ammunition Hill da allora è sito della colonizzazione sionista di Gerusalemme. Più emblematici sono gli edifici delle due prefetture della polizia israeliana, costruite su terre Palestinesi occupate, confiscate ed annesse. Assieme ad altre colonie, Ammunition Hill forma un doppio cordone di insediamenti ebraici che soffocano la presenza palestinese nella loro capitale, derubando spazio abitativo e agricolo.

Gli insediamenti coloniali israeliani, creati per solo ebrei su terra palestinese occupata, espongono in modo particolarmente evidente l’uso militare e razzista dell’architettura all’interno delle politiche israeliane. Ad oggi, il progetto delle colonie israeliane – che si espande a macchia di leopardo sui campi e fra i villaggi palestinesi – trova il suo massimo completamento nella costruzione del Muro dell’Apartheid. Il progetto del muro mira a confiscare circa il 48% della Cisgiordania, rinchiudendo letteralmente in ghetti, dietro filo spinato o muri di cemento alti fino a 9 metri, le comunità e città palestinesi.

Ironicamente – mentre nel padiglione israeliano si celebrerà l’uso coloniale, razzista e militare dell’architettura fino al 19 Novembre – dal 9 al 16 di quel mese, in oltre 30 paesi del mondo, movimenti e organizzazioni si mobiliteranno per la 4° settimana nazionale ed internazionale contro il muro dell’Apartheid. 

Nella mostra, la funzione di legittimazione di un ethos sociale, culturale e artistico sionista basato sulla guerra continua contro la popolazione indigena viene addirittura espresso nella presentazione ufficiale dell’evento: “La giustificazione delle guerre israeliane legittima la perdita di vite nel passato e la loro possibile perdita nel futuro; la continuazione della cooperazione incondizionata fra l’establishment militare e di difesa e il cittadino individuale.” Quello che viene omesso è che questa incondizionata complicità di tutte le aree della società israeliana nei crimini di guerra contribuisce soprattutto alla perdita di vite da parte delle popolazioni oppresse, occupate ed espulse. Quello che non viene commemorato sono 60 anni di espulsione, uccisione e occupazione del popolo palestinese alle mani dello stato d’Israele. Difatti, nella presentazione ufficiale è così citato: “La creazione di questi edifici e il loro disegno architettonico conferma miti esistenti e normative sociali all’interno del contesto particolare della società israeliana”. Nel mito della terra senza popolo, la popolazione indigena palestinese viene esclusa e negata con la stessa determinazione con la quale gli strateghi politici pianificano la nostra sparizione dietro muri di cemento.

E’ semplicemente coerente che il governo israeliano abbia scelto di esporre una mostra di questo tipo, visto che si fonda su questi miti e glorificazioni quanto sulla sua economia di guerra vera e propria.

Non sorprende nemmeno che oltre al governo israeliano, l’Agenzia Ebraica Nazionale/ KKL abbia sponsorizzato questo evento. Quest’ultima, lungi da essere una “agenzia”,  è di fatto un’istituzione para-statale sionista che sin dalla sua nascita ha contribuito al furto delle terre palestinesi, all’espulsione degli abitanti da queste terre e alla loro conseguente colonizzazione ebraica.

Ci rifiutiamo, però, di pensare che i valori culturali e morali dell’Italia siano conciliabili con questa mostra. Crediamo che sia doveroso da parte degli organizzatori della Biennale prendere coscienza che una cooperazione con lo stato israeliano significa complicità e propaganda per l’occupazione e l’espulsione dei palestinesi dalla loro terra. Nessun evento potrebbe dare maggiore visibilità della mostra stessa. Insieme a varie altre organizzazioni di accademici e architetti palestinesi1 chiediamo quindi l’immediata cancellazione del padiglione. Non chiediamo una mostra “soft” che nasconda le verità espresse nell’allestimento attuale ma un rifiuto di presentare l’architettura israeliana fino a quando queste sono – come sottolineato dai curatori – le espressioni fondamentali.

Chiediamo al mondo culturale, accademico ed alla società civile italiana di mobilitarsi ed opporsi a questo abuso di spazi culturali al servizio dell’Occupazione.

Oltre 170 organizzazioni della società civile palestinese si sono uniti in un appello per il boicottaggio, il non investimento e le sanzioni contro Israele il 9 Luglio del 2005; in questa data ricorre il primo anniversario della quasi dimenticata decisione della corte Internazionale dell’Aja che ha chiesto lo smantellamento del Muro. Chiediamo che le persone e le organizzazioni di coscienza si uniscano in questa occasione per dare vita ad una campagna che almeno ottenga lo smantellamento di questo padiglione, per cominciare ad abbattere la complicità internazionale con la retorica e la realtà di occupazione, apartheid ed espulsione.

Campagna Palestinese contro il Muro dell’Apartheid – www.stopthewall.org

1 Riwaq – Centre for Architectural Conservation, Society of Palestinian Architects, PACBI,

  Palestinian Engineers Association – Jerusalem Center

 

ISM-Italia Press Release 06 09 2006

 

Se alla Biennale Architettura di Venezia si celebra, nel padiglione israeliano, la pulizia etnica e il genocidio del popolo palestinese

A partire da un articolo di Esther Zandberg, esperta israeliana di architettura, apparso il 28.08.06 su Haaretz (all. 1), sono venuti alla luce i contenuti della mostra “Life Saver: Typology of Commemoration in Israel – Architecture and Society”, patrocinata dal governo israeliano, presentata nella sezione Architettura della Biennale di Venezia che aprirà il prossimo10 settembre.

Hanno preso immediatamente posizione, invitando la Biennale a cancellare questo evento, associazioni inglesi (all. 2) e palestinesi (all. 3 in inglese e italiano):

  • Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine

  • Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) 

  • The Palestinian Engineers Association – Jerusalem Center 

  • Society of Palestinian Architects 

  • RIWAQ, Centre for Architectural Conservation 

Oggi è in atto una fragilissima tregua tra il Libano e Israele, dopo più di 30 giorni di guerra che hanno avuto come conseguenza in Libano la morte di oltre 1.000 civili e le distruzioni che sono davanti agli occhi di tutti.

Ma questo non impedisce all’esercito israeliano di continuare la sua aggressione a Gaza e in Cisgiordania.

Né impedisce che i donatari occidentali continuino a imporre un embargo totale contro il governo guidato da Hamas, mettendo letteralmente in ginocchio tutte le istituzioni dell’Autorità Palestinese e lasciando senza stipendio centinaia di migliaia di famiglie dei territori occupati palestinesi (almeno un quarto della popolazione).

Ilan Pappe, storico della Università di Haifa, che ha dedicato i suoi studi in particolare alla pulizia etnica dei Palestinesi che accompagnò nel 1948 la costituzione dello Stato di Israele, ha scritto il 2 settembre  scorso un articolo (all. 4) dal titolo, “Genocide in Gaza”.

Gideon Levy, giornalista israeliano di Haaretz, da sempre impegnato nella denuncia dei crimini di guerra israeliani, ha dedicato numerosi articoli alla situazione a Gaza, l’ultimo (all. 5), Gaza’s darkness” il 3 settembre u.s.

ISM-Italia facendo proprie le motivazioni espresse dalle associazioni palestinesi (all. 3) e da quella inglese (all. 2):

  • invita a sua volta il Presidente della Biennale, Davide Croff, e il curatore, Richard Burdett, a cancellare dal programma questo evento.

  • sollecita le organizzazioni della società civile italiana a unirsi a questo invito, inviando analoghe lettere alle persone indicate

Appare infatti non coerente con le caratteristiche e la stessa storia della Biennale di Venezia,  che sia concesso il minimo spazio, non alla commemorazione delle vittime della violenza, ma alla celebrazione dei carnefici.

ISM-Italia, 6 settembre 2006

 

email

Davide Croff                 fax +39 041 5218810 oppure infoarchitettura@labiennale.org

Richard Burdett             infoarchitettura@labiennale.org oppure r.burdett@lse.ac.uk

ISM- Italia info@ism-italia.it

ISM-Italia è il gruppo di supporto italiano dell’ISM.

L’International Solidarity Movement (ISM www.palsolidarity.org) è un movimento palestinese impegnato a resistere all’occupazione israeliana usando i metodi e i principi dell’azione-diretta non violenta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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‘All of Israel is the front, and we are all victims’ By Esther Zandberg 26 08 2006

The exhibition "Life Saver: Typology of Commemoration in Israel," which represents Israel this year at the 10th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, focuses on architecture of commemoration and memory, which is conceivably the most charged and sensitive subject in the field. This is particularly true in Israel, which regrettably enjoys great expertise on the subject.

Israel is the record holder for such sites, as commemoration is a primary component of the national ethos. The number of commemoration sites and memorials in Israel is considered the highest per-capita in the world. Now, new subjects for commemoration – the victims of the second Lebanon war – have been added to the circle.

The exhibition, which opens on September 10 and closes November 19, was curated by architect Tula Amir, and will be exhibited in the Israeli pavilion of the Biennale at the Castello Giardini in Venice. The timing, before the echoes of the war even had a chance to die down, could not have been more symbolic or macabre. On the face of it, the timing is coincidental. But the subject was already chosen a year ago, and the concept was agreed upon and crystallized well before the war began. This said, commemoration and memory are never coincidental in Israel; they are actual and relevant at any given time.

The exhibition itself makes no reference to the current war, another link in the vicious cycle of bereavement-commemoration-memory. Isn’t it a given that this war should be referred to in an exhibition that deals with commemoration and memory? "The war is still fresh," says Amir. "It isn’t possible to understand or assess this latest rupture, not socially. And of course not in terms of the architecture of commemoration. This is the first war in which I am the same age as the parents, a fact that adds a new layer to the pain and confusion and fear."

Manipulation of consciousness

The exhibition presents 15 commemoration and memorial structures that have been built throughout Israel in the 57 years between 1949 and 2006. Most of them have become architectural and cultural icons, compulsory stops for many Israelis and tourists alike. They have become a constituent element of the Israeli architectural ‘export,’ and are representative of the uniqueness of the commemoration phenomenon in Israel. As Amir puts it, this architecture is primarily based on the idea of "the double view": looking back at death, and looking ahead to the future; somewhere in the middle is the commemoration structure, which seeks to "exalt death and justify the cost."

The double view, explains Amir, is the common denominator linking most commemoration structures in Israel – despite different architectural styles and changes that have taken place in memorial patterns over the years. This double view is represented in the memorial structures through a series of architectural contrasts: dark and light, open and closed, above and below, near and far. Nearly all of the commemoration structures, she notes, exploit more than one of these contrasts, providing the spectator with a sort of corrective experience.

At times, the double view in memorial sites is created by positioning the inanimate architectural-sculptural object in front of a landscape, or against a background of vegetation, "which symbolizes life, growth and continuation," notes Amir. Numerous commemoration structures incorporate or guide the visitor to a viewing spot from which he or she is exposed to an especially panoramic scene that draws the gaze into the distance, "to the cause, or to the future." In this manner, architecture is enlisted to build "a foundation for legitimization of society’s needs, justification for the difficulties of present-day existence and for the price to be paid in the future."

Justification of Israel’s wars, stresses Amir, "provides legitimization of the blood that has been spilled and is liable to be spilled in the future, of the continued unreserved cooperation between the military and security establishment and the citizens of the country, and of the undisputed consensus according to which struggle is the instrument of survival of our existence in Israel." These discordant words were written before the current war.

The architectural representations of commemoration in Israel are unique in that they not only document an event or period in time, but mediate between past and present, and "give validity, in terms of place and architectural planning, to the existing myths and the dictates of society."

Amir thinks of commemoration structures as "edge structures" – an extreme example of architectural symbolism and manipulation, in which the profession is called upon to shape consciousness to specific needs. At times, architecture even exploits the viewers’ lack of defense, leading him or her, through its unique devices to the seemingly essential conclusion that was outlined in advance.

Mini models of commemoration

The structures in the exhibition represent diverse forms of commemoration, from the uniquely Israeli Yad Lebanim (local memorials to fallen soldiers) buildings to Holocaust museums. Others include the Palmach House museum in Tel Aviv, designed by the architect Zvi Hecker, the Yad Vashem compound in Jerusalem, which includes the new museum designed by Moshe Safdie, the Negev Brigade memorial in Be’er Sheva, designed by the artist Danny Caravan, the Holocaust and ghetto fighters’ museum at Kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, designed by Shmuel Bikeles and the Ammunition Hill memorial in East Jerusalem, planned by Binyamin Idelson and Gershon Zippor, among others.

The idea of contrasts is represented by a series of black and white reduced-scale models of the commemoration structures. The models are made of light plastic materials in contrast with the stone and concrete the structures themselves are generally constructed from.

Also displayed in the pavilion, which is to be designed for the purposes of the exhibition as a commemoration site of sorts, is the video work "El Maleh Rahamim" by the artist Erez Israeli, which combines a universal component resembling the Pieta sculpture with the Jewish prayer for the eternal bliss of the deceased’s soul. Thirty memorial torches will be installed in the pavilion garden, similar to those placed on the rooftops of public buildings in Israel on memorial days.

The exhibition will also offer a catalog of articles that analyze the complexity of the commemoration phenomenon in Israel. In an article about the Palmach House museum, Jewish-British architect Timothy Brittain-Catlin writes it is "in a sense the the first significant post-Zionist building, the one that has nothing stubborn or optimistic to say about the military enterprise." An article by Dan Daor conveys the same message about memorial structures, according to which there are no heroes – all there is is the eternity of Israel, all of the country is on the front, and all of us are victims.

The name of the exhibition, "Life Saver," is borrowed from the poem "Time, Poem No. 6" from Yehuda Amichai’s series of poems about time. Amichai’s poetry is an endless source of commemoration and memorial passages for every occasion. "The poem suggests that the round floral wreath is a life saver extended to the soldiers buried beneath it," explains Amir.

The Foreign and Education Ministries are jointly responsible for the Israeli pavilion at the Biennale. They have allocated $90,000 to the exhibition budget. The remaining funding was raised from private and public contributions and sponsorships. Amir was selected as the curator from among several candidates. In the final stage, the other contenders withdrew their candidacy, and Amir’s proposal was selected.

The Israeli pavilion is one of dozens of pavilions at the Biennale that will be presenting national exhibitions, parallel with the festival’s main exhibition, which is focusing this year on ‘super cities,’ under the title "Megacity." Richard Burdett is curating the exhibition. Burdett is an expert on the politics of urban planning at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The Biennale, still considered the main institutional event in the international architecture world, is accompanied by a series of events and tributes. Foremost among them are the "Golden Lion" awards, which will be bestowed on the outstanding national pavilion, the outstanding city, and outstanding urban projects. This year, the prestigious architectural prize for lifetime achievement went to the veteran British architect Richard Rogers, one of the designers of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The prizes will be awarded on the opening day of the exhibition.

 

www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?itemNo=753693


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PETITION TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THE VENICE BIENNALE ­ SEPTEMBER 2006

From: Abe Hayeem

Dip Arch., RIBA, NRAC

100 Whitchurch Lane Edgware, Middx, HA8 6QN

tel:  020 8952 5172

 

1st September 2006

 

To:  Richard Burdett

Curator,10th International Architecture Biennale

 

Dear Mr. Burdett,

 

I am writing on behalf of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, to ask you to please give serious and urgent consideration to this petition regarding the Israeli exhibition for the Biennale , on the Architecture of Commemoration.

 

We appreciate this is at very short notice, but we were only alerted to it by Esther Zandberg’s article in Ha’aretz a few days ago. She is the well known architecture critic.

 

I have included the petition and article as Word attachments, and also the following text of the petition.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Abe Hayeem

Co-ordinator

APJP

 

PETITION TO THE ORGANIZERS OF THE VENICE BIENNALE ­ SEPTEMBER 2006

 

We are writing to express our dismay and concern that the Venice Biennale has agreed to host the Israeli contribution to the exhibition on the Architecture of Commemoration. The whole contribution, funded by the Israeli Government, totally excludes the Palestinians who are the target and real victims of the seemingly unending series of wars being memorialised, and awards Israel the sole position of victim  and victor. The contributor Dan Daor says that the message of memorial structures is that "there are no heroes – all there is, is  the eternity of Israel,  all of the country is on the front, and all of us are victims."

 

There are no memorials in Israel to the Naqba, the Palestinian tragedy of displacement and dispossession, where  the intention of transfer and exclusion led to the destruction and elimination of 580 Palestinian villages towns and cities. Even today, this  dispossession and humiliation goes on in Gaza and the West Bank,  with the destruction of their heritage in the historic cities of  Jerusalem, Nablus, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho.  This is particularly ironic when the subject of the Biennale is the celebration of cities.

 

The architectural critic for Haaretz, Esther Zandberg has described  this exhibition as "an extreme example of architectural symbolism and manipulation, in which the profession is called upon to shape consciousness  to specific needs. At times, architecture even exploits the viewers’  lack of defence, leading him or her, through its unique devices to  the seemingly essential conclusion that was outlined in advance."

 

Thus the eminent Israeli architects represented here are being used  as tools of Israeli propaganda, and consequently would be deemed to be complicit in the agenda of excluding the Palestinian narrative.

Significantly,  the Israeli organisation, Zochrot, which deals  with  remembering the Naqba has been omitted from this exhibition.

 

In the words of the Israeli curator Tula Amir:  "Justification of Israel’s wars provides legitimisation of the blood that has been spilled and is liable to be spilled in the future, of the continued unreserved co-operation between the military and security establishment and the citizens of the country, and of the undisputed consensus according to which struggle is the instrument of survival   of our existence in Israel."

 

But it has been evident that the wars and tragedies engulfing Palestine/Israel since 948 have been due to Israel’s intransigence and  refusal to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

 

We request that the Biennale Committee consider withdrawing the Israeli entry as being provocative and counterproductive to the aims of the Biennale, and particularly distasteful in the  context of the aftermath of an ugly and unnecessary war in  neighbouring  Lebanon, and a continuing one-sided war in Gaza.

 

Whatever you do about the Israeli participation,  we would like the organisers to  consider asking for a Palestinian  contribution, highlighting the historic  and ongoing displacement of the Palestinian people.

 

ARCHITECTS & PLANNERS FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE

 

Ted Cullinan,  Charles Jencks, Louis Hellman, Ian Martin, Eyal Weizman, Jake Brown Abe Hayeem,  Antoine Raffoul,  Haifa Hammami,  Eitan Bronstein (Zochrot) Mike Macrae,  Neil Lambert, Steve Fox, John Waller , Michael Safier, Phil Gusack Malkit  Shoshan (FAST), Martin O¹Shea,  Dr. Jim Berrow,  John Murray, Paul Barham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Letter to the Organizers of the 10th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale

   | | September 3, 2006

We the undersigned groups and organizations request that the Venice Biennale cancel the country exhibition of Israel entitled “LIFE SAVER – Typology of Commemoration in Israel – Architecture and Society” for the following reasons:

The Israeli participation is supported by the Israeli state, a state that continues against all International laws and UN resolutions to occupy the West Bank and Gaza Strip; to deny the right of return for Palestinian refugees; and to wage a daily war against Palestinian children, men and women, their homes and livelihoods.

The Israeli state is still engaged in a war with Lebanon that started less than two months ago and resulted in the killing of over a thousand Lebanese, the destruction of infrastructure, roads, buildings, bridges, electricity power plants, and thousands of homes, and the denial of the right of education to thousands of Lebanese children who cannot attend a new school year because their schools have been destroyed.

Israeli architects, engineers and planners are fully engaged in the planning and implementation of a system of oppression and control that began with the appropriation and confiscation of lands since 1948, and continues today in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the form of illegal settlement building, bypass roads, and the construction of the Apartheid Wall.

Nowhere in the exhibition is there any mention of the 418 Palestinian villages destroyed and wiped from memory as a result of the creation of the state of Israel; neither is there any recognition of the 750,000 Palestinians thrown out of their homes, who together with their children and grandchildren continue to be refugees unable to return to their homes until this day.

The exhibition contains models of memorials commemorating both the victims of the Holocaust as well as those killed during Israel’s various wars since 1948. The history of the holocaust and its Jewish victims is thus confused with that of Israel’s colonial history and the death of soldiers killed while invading, occupying and annexing Arab lands.

Tula Amir, the exhibition curator writes in the introduction to the exhibition:

“The justification of Israel’s wars legitimates the loss of life in the past and its possible loss in the future; the continuation of unconditional cooperation between the country’s military and defense establishment and its individual citizens; and an unequivocal understanding that this struggle is the on

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