NY Javits Center architect says he backs security barrier

Richard Rogers has been criticized for his relationship with group that urged Israel to stop building fence and settlements.

barrier book 88 298 (photo credit: )
barrier book 88 298
(photo credit: )
The British architect supervising the redesign of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center said that he is in favor of the security barrier Israel has built in the West Bank. Lord Richard Rogers has been criticized for his relationship with Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, a group of 60 prominent architects who have called on Israel to stop building the fence and settlements in the West Bank. Last month, the organization issued a statement calling for a boycott of Israel and compared West Bank building firms to those that worked in South Africa during apartheid. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Rep. Anthony Weiner have demanded Rogers be dropped from the $1.7 billion project to renovate the Javits center, which was named for the late Sen. Jacob Koppel Javits, a New York Republican, who was a supporter of Israel. On Monday, Rogers met with Charles Gargano, the chairman of the Empire State Development Corp., a state commission overseeing the project. Gargano had summoned Rogers to New York to discuss the controversy. The two "had a good discussion" in Gargano's office, the ESDC said in a statement. "The chairman appreciated Lord Rogers coming to New York as quickly as he did, which provided an opportunity for the chairman to gain a better understanding of Lord Rogers' position on issues raised recently," the statement said. It said that Rogers was "reaching out to leaders of the Jewish community" and that he and Gargano would talk again this week. Last week, The New York Sun reported that Rogers had been quoted in an Israeli newspaper saying he supported "targeted activities" against Israel - a claim Rogers denies. "I call upon Hamas to renounce terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist," Rogers said Monday in a statement. Rogers has acknowledged that he let the architects' group hold a meeting at his London office as a favor to a friend. He said in Monday's statement that he left after 10 minutes and did not vote for the boycott.