UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

“Inflammatory” Whitworth Gallery Exhibition challenged

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) have written to the Vice-Chancellor of Manchester University warning that the hosting of an exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery may breach the “public sector equality duty”.

Whitworth Art Gallery, which is part of Manchester University, is hosting an exhibition by Forensic Architecture, which contains inflammatory language, portraying Israel as an occupation force engaged in ethnic cleansing, apartheid, human and environmental destruction.  Several visitors to the Whitworth Art Gallery contacted UKLFI about their concerns regarding this exhibition.

UKLFI pointed out to Manchester University that it appears to have failed to comply with its Public Sector Equality Duty by not considering the impact of the inflammatory language and representations contained in the exhibition on Jewish people in Manchester.

UKLFI has requested the following information from the University:

  1. What consideration was given to the requirement to eliminate prohibited conduct including harassment and victimisation?

  2. What consideration was given to the need to foster good relations between different communities?

  3. The outcome of such consideration.

  4. Any correspondence, notes, minutes and details of any meetings in which they were discussed.

The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 requires a public body, including a university, to have due regard to these requirements in the exercise of its functions.

The Whitworth Gallery previously caused controversy in June this year when it posted a statement on its website expressing solidarity with Palestine and support for “decolonialisation”. The statement was removed following a complaint from UKLFI.