Brussels: Israeli exhibit postponed following Gaza op

Exhibition on Tel Aviv’s early years scheduled to open at Belgian capital’s center for architecture delayed after local organizers face demands to boycott Israeli culture

Eli Senyor

An exhibit titled “The White City Tel Aviv”, which was set to open in Brussels next week, has been postponed by the Belgian organizers in response to IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The hosts – the board of directors of the International Centre for Urbanism, Architecture and Landscape (CIVA) – informed the Tel Aviv Municipality three days ago of their decision to postpone the exhibit due to their belief that it would be “better appreciated at a different time.”

To read CIVA’s letter (French)

“We received protests that were based on the claims that Israeli culture should be boycotted until the Israeli government changes its policy,” the board said in a letter. On the other hand, the letter continued, there were those who demanded that the exhibition be held in order to portray Israel’s history and image.

“We heard these stances and are convinced that both are valid, but we’ve decided to prevent any kind of debate on the objective of holding this exhibit,” the letter stated.

The “White City” exhibition was launched after UNESCO declared the city’s historical center a World Cultural Heritage Site. The exhibit, which portrays the Bauhaus architecture that characterized Tel Aviv in its early years, has already visited Canada, the United States and various cities in Europe.

“This is the first time that politics is being brought into this subject,” said the exhibition’s producer Smadar Timor. “The issue has triggered much interest in Belgium and dozens of architects signed a petition calling on the organizers not to cancel it,” she added.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said that he regretted the “double standards and the inability to see that justice is on the side of those who’ve been attacked for years and are merely defending themselves.

“I hope that the museum will come to its senses, go back on its decision and give the Belgian public an opportunity to watch this exhibition,” he concluded.

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