Since gallery director Alistair Hudson is refusing to remove the offending material about the Jewish state, this email is going to those individuals and organisations who financially donate to the gallery.
This email is also going to the Chancellor and President of Manchester University.
Dear Dame Vivian Duffield
We write regarding your support for the Whitworth Gallery.
We are an organisation which is monitoring anti-Jewish activity within British universities. As you will be aware, the Whitworth operates under the auspices of Manchester University.
The Whitworth claims that 'the gallery is driven by a mission to work with communities to use art for positive social change'. It also states that this work is underpinned by the key concepts of learning together and creating a place of care, consideration and community.
Sadly these concepts apparently do not include Jews, as proven by a current exhibition called 'Cloud Studies' by Forensic Architecture.
This exhibition includes a most egregious and dangerous lie about the one and only Jewish state.
An introductory text to the film states that Israel is guilty of 'ethnic cleansing' - which is a blatant falsehood. Israel is further portrayed as a 'colonial settler state'.
The text reads, frankly, like it was prepared by Hamas.
At a time when Jews around the globe are the targets of increased aggression and racism, this exhibition has drawn protests from the Manchester Jewish community as well as Jews across the UK.
UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) states that the material appearing at the Whitworth 'falsely conflates Israelis with white supermacists' and 'provokes racial discord'.
In short, the Jewish state is being portrayed as genocidal and as having no right to exist.
Two weeks ago, UKLFI and a number of Manchester Jewish groups met with Nalin Thakkar, Vice President for Social Responsibility at Manchester University. Professor Thakkar agreed to remove the offending text in its entirety.
However, one week later, gallery director Alistair Hudson reversed this decision and the offensive text remains.
As a part of Manchester University, the Whitworth is bound by the UK Public Sector Equality Duty. This calls on institutions to consider how their policies and decisions affect people who fall under 'protected characteristics'. These include age, religion, race and this is what UKLFI states is being violated.
This is the second incident this year involving the Whitworth. In June, while the civilian population of Israel was under attack from over 4000 missiles launched from Hamas in Gaza, the gallery posted an online statement expressing 'solidarity with palestine'. No acknowledgement of the terrorism against Israel was included.
It thus seems reasonable to conclude that there is an ongoing bias against the Jewish state being expressed by the Whitworth.
Our organisation has written to Alistair Hudson. His response was simply that Cloud Studies 'provokes a response'.
We wrote again, suggesting that allowing egregious lies and misinformation to stand is more than just 'art'.
Our follow-up email has not elicited a response thus far.
Delegitimisation of Israel is something we are increasingly seeing within British universities. No other nation on earth is treated in this manner. It is intrinsically antisemitic and contravenes the IHRA Working Definition on Antisemitism.
We are therefore asking if you will consider withdrawing your support of the Whitworth.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Ruth Sheridan & Tabatha Caplan
Act Against Antisemitism Now
For anyone who would also like to send emails, here are the contact details:
Dame Vivian Duffield firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Warner wolfson.org.uk
Chancellor of Manchester University: email@example.com
Chair of the Board of Governors: Edward M Astle firstname.lastname@example.org
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