The exhibition in
On 2 July, the Whitworth Art Gallery opened an exhibition called CLOUD STUDIES by the research agency Forensic Architecture as part of the Manchester International Festival. The exhibition brings together nine investigations into how states and corporations weaponize the air we breathe to suppress civilian protest and maintain and defend border regimes. These investigations took place in Chile, Indonesia, Louisiana, England, Beirut, and Palestine. The work in Palestine investigated human rights abuse, military action including the use of white phosphorus, and environmental destruction through herbicide by the Israeli state. This criticism of the Israeli state has made the work of Forensic Architecture a target for censorship by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and affiliated pro-Israel groups.
The exhibition included a statement of support for Palestine authored and signed by the artists:
cluded a statement of support for Palestine authored and signed by the artists:
After a campaign of complaints spearheaded by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) accusing the exhibition of hatred and anti-Semitism, the University have instructed the Whitworth to remove the statement from the exhibition.
In capitulating to UKLFI’s malicious accusations, the University of Manchester have silenced artists and censored information about human rights abuse in Palestine. The claim that the exhibition is anti-Semitic is manipulative and dangerous. UKLFI’s modus operandi is to shut down and silence debate on the impact of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. They conflate criticism of Israeli institutions including the government and military with anti-Semitism in order to do so. As an academic institution, the University of Manchester is a space for open expression and debate on complex issues and we demand that the statement of support is immediately put back on display and the exhibition re-opened.
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