Articles by Rita Giacaman and Ruchama Marton

[UKPMHN mailing]

Dear friends,

We would like to bring two articles to your attention.

Rita Giacaman’s article ‘Mental health, social distress and political oppression: The case of the occupied Palestinian territory’ argues for a reframing of mental health paradigms to meet the needs of mass political violation and destruction of human security. She suggests the need for ‘a parallel change … from short-term emergency humanitarian aid to the development of a sustainable system of public mental health services, in combination with advocacy for human rights and the restoration of political, historical and moral justice’. Rita is Professor of Public Health at Birzeit University. Her paper can be found here:

In her lecture,’Forced Existence’, Ruchama Marton, Israeli psychiatrist and psychotherapist, founder of the human rights organisation Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), offers a psychodynamic interpretation of the cruelty that characterizes the attitudes and behaviour of the ‘Zionist Israeli Collective’ (ZIC) towards the Palestinians. She discusses the role of human rights in psychiatric work, how ZIC perspectives inform the treatment of Palestinian patients, and tells of PHR-I’s attempts to challenge the Israeli medical establishment that facilitates the work of Israel’s torturers. ‘Forced Existence’ can be read here:

Meanwhile, not all is well, back here in the UK:

Sadly, were Professor Giacaman and Dr Marton to be invited to speak to British students, the Zionist lobby would do all it could to ban them, on the grounds that their views are anti-Jewish. Sadder still, the lobby would stand a good chance of success: the Government is now issuing guidelines that will encourage university authorities to stop non-Zionists from speaking, and has already resulted in speakers being banned.

Free Speech on Israel has produced a letter deploring this attack on academic freedom, and we are hoping that you will sign, here:

Those behind this modern McCarthyism are revelling in their newfound power. In a letter to the Guardian, Gideon Falter of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) describes triumphantly how to ignore the ‘new definition’ is now (in his words)‘becoming political, social and professional suicide’. He is wrong in one respect: none of those targeted by CAA wish to harm themselves. But to speak out against racism and oppression in Palestine/Israel now certainly incurs the risk of political, social and professional assassination – at the hands of groups like the CAA.

We can compare the humanity and courage of the late Gerald Kaufman, speaking out against the massacre taking place in Gaza in 2009, with the tastelessness of CAA’s regret that he had died before it could itself wipe away this ‘rotting stain’ on our political life.

The CAA is currently targeting Maleka Mohammed, student and teacher at Exeter University, survivor of the death of many members of her family in the atrocity that Israel inflicted on Gaza in 2014. They are deliberately or stupidly twisting her words so as to brand her an ‘anti-Semite supporter of terrorism’, and calling for her to be expelled.

If, having explored their website (, you wanted to write to the Charitable Commissioners to express a view on CAA’s charitable status, you can do so here:

Nadera Shalhoub-Kervorkian: “The Occupation of the Senses: the aesthetic of State Terror in the Palestinian City Space”. Watch her powerful lecture, given to the State Crime Initiative at St Mary University in February 2017: