Palestinian link could cost Rogers $1.7bn New York deal

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The Independent Online

One of Britain's leading architects, Richard Rogers, is battling to save his $1.7bn (£971m) redesign of a New York convention centre, after his connections to a pro-Palestinian protest group outraged politicians and Jewish organisations.

Lord Rogers, the architect behind the Welsh Assembly building and the Millennium Dome, was summoned to meet the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation yesterday. The company wants him to explain his involvement in Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, revealed in The Independent last month.

He hosted a meeting of the group at his London headquarters, at which architects considered calling for a boycott of Israel's construction industry in protest at the building of the separation barrier in the Occupied Territories.

The convention centre was built in the memory of Jacob Javitz, a firm supporter of Israel who was a senator for more than 20 years. "It carries the name of someone whose legacy is contrary to such views," said Malcolm Hoenlein, of the Conference of Major Jewish Organisations.

Lord Rogers cut ties to the group last week. "I have never backed a boycott and I have never stated that I favour targeted activities," he said.

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