In response to pressure from lobby groups who deny the basic facts of Palestinian experience, last week the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester removed a statement that formed part of ‘Cloud Studies’, an exhibition on environmental violence by Forensic Architecture.
We wholeheartedly welcome the gallery’s subsequent U-turn and the reinstatement of the group’s statement of solidarity with Palestine, within days, following public outcry and thousands of letters of protest.
We believe this case is instructive as to the modus operandi of the UK’s pro-Israel lobby groups. It illuminates the damage done when UK institutions accept at face value the claims of some self-appointed groups to represent the view of an entire ethnic group, and are unwilling to acknowledge the political nature of complaints about Palestine-related speech.
The precedent set by any UK university and cultural institution acceding to campaigns that aim to intimidate and chill speech by making baseless accusations, could…
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