Torture in Palestinian Jails, Lacanians play with Apartheid, B’tselem at the UN and more

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: 8TH AND 9TH MARCH 2019 (Friday evening and all day Saturday)

“Palestine: Surviving Childhood” is the provisional title for a conference being planned for London next year, jointly organised by the Network and the new Human Rights Centre at Birkbeck University. Further details to follow.


Human Rights Watch have published a damning report on the use of torture by both the Palestine Authority and the Hamas Government. Both administrations employ inhuman and degrading methods against their political opponents, and to suppress freedom of expression within Palestinian society. We condemn all torture, all abuses of power, any suppression of the civil rights and political freedoms of the Palestinian people.

The political context is not one to nourish democratic values and constitutional practice. Palestine is subject to a brutal military occupation. The international response to the victory of Hamas in 2006, joining Israel’s boycott and fomenting violent confrontation between the major political factions, has contributed to the entrenchment of dictatorial attitudes in both the West Bank and Gaza. It may be, too, that Palestinian torturers learnt their trade in Israel’s own torture chambers. None of this excuses the use of torture.

This is a painful report to read. What conclusions can be drawn from it? There are those who seem to believe that anything negative that can be said about Palestinian society reflects well on Israel. The Report may be cited as propaganda to support Ehud Barak’s notion that Israel is ‘a villa in the jungle’, an outpost of Western democratic culture. From our perspective, this defensive splitting and denigration serves only to protect the whole machinery of racial oppression that is indicated by the word ‘occupation’. The true moral of this report is that both Palestinian and Jewish Israeli societies need to be liberated from a present that brutalises them both.

This is an appropriate moment to salute the work of Palestinian dissidents, journalists, and human rights organisations who have stood up for democratic values and the rule of law, and who challenge Hamas and the PA to behave accordingly. We have in mind, for example, the regular bulletins of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights which, while providing detailed information on the human rights abuses carried out by Israel, also protests the hampering of political and journalistic activity, the failure to adhere to constitutional protections, the use of the death penalty, and the maltreatment of detainees by the Palestinian authorities (

It is to be hoped that the Palestinian authorities will implement the recommendations of the Report, abandoning these counter-productive practices which are damaging to the liberation movement at home and abroad. See a brief video here: and the full report here:

The UKPMHN supports our American colleagues in condemning the NLSP for choosing Tel Aviv for their 2019 annual conference. It is dismaying that psychotherapy organisations are still blind to the contradiction between their professional commitment to the promotion of human dignity and psychological health, and actions that betray a blatant disregard for the lives and minds of real people. We lament the extent of anti-Palestinian racism in our profession, which such decisions clearly illustrate. The text of USAPMHN letter to the NSLP is copied below.

Some weeks before Jair Bolsonaro’s victory, sixty-six psychoanalytic bodies made a direct intervention in Brazil’s general election. They protested the threat to democracy, civil liberties and human rights, and linked their defence to the struggle against gross inequality. We imagine that this unusual step flows from Latin American’s clear memory of their continent being engulfed by fascism in the 1970s and 1980s, and a sense of shame remembering the collusion of many psychoanalytic organisations with those repressive regimes. We cannot cherry pick those whose civil liberties and human rights deserve to be protected.
For the full text of the Brazilian statement, in English and Portuguese, and the list of signatory organisations, see below.

Thanks to the Bolivian Government, we were offered the unusual sight of someone telling the truth about Israel in the United Nations Security Council last week. Hagai El-Ad, Director of the Israeli Human Rights organisation B’tselem, provided the Security Council with an overview of current Israeli crimes, while denouncing the ‘well-oiled farce’ of Israel’s courts attempting to give them a legal gloss. His speech shamed those present, countries that have for decades hidden their complicity in Israeli crimes behind meaningless slogans and toothless resolutions. Listen to his testimony here:

Public discussion about Israel/Palestine can be shallow and predictable. Western politicians re-iterate ad infinitum the assertion that the ‘two state solution’ is the only reasonable basis for future peace and security. They are undeterred by those who suggest that it has been used as cover for the progressive colonization of the West Bank, such that no meaningful Palestinian State could now be established. It often feels as if the ‘two state’ idea has become an empty shibboleth used to shut down discussion on potentially more imaginative, democratic, and realistic means of achieving long term security for all in the Middle East. There is a considerable literature, largely ignored, reflecting on what it would mean to build a truly democratic, inclusive society in Israel/Palestine. See for example, articles by physician and author Ghada Karmi, here:;
and from Haifa, Awad Abdelfattah, Co-ordinator of the One Democratic State Campaign, here:

While debate in the British Labour Party still trails way behind the realities on the ground, things are moving there too. Watch the speech made by Colin Monehen introducing the motion on Palestine at the party’s annual conference in September to a hall awash with Palestinian flags. The motion, passed unanimously, acknowledges the Naqba, demands an inquiry into Israeli atrocities, and calls for a Labour Government to introduce an embargo on arms sales to Israel:

There are at least some hopeful signs of opinion change in the USA too. This article, written by Phyllis Bennis, a co-founder of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and member of the national board of Jewish Voice for Peace, thinks that the persistent work of activists is having a real impact:

6.‘SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE OF TRAUMA’  An article about a scheme to provide fifty bereaved young people in Gaza with therapeutic support:
And another about a writing project, also in Gaza:These were published in the Electronic Intifada, and we recommend signing up to their daily updates and discussion pieces as a way of keeping abreast of developments in Palestine:

7.Introducing PALMUSIC  Palmusic UK (formerly Friends of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music) is a UK-charity that nurtures the talent and skills of young Palestinians through the provision of scholarships, musical instruments and high-quality music training. It believes that music can make a real difference to the lives of young Palestinians and help them build bridges with the world outside. PalMusic helps talented young musicians with scholarships in the UK and Palestine. It has a new project offering distance learning in Gaza.

Explore their activities through their website,, and get tickets for their next presentation: a piano recital on November 8that which Iyad Sugheyer will play Mozart,  Chopin and Khachaturian at the Conway Hall, London.

8.Text of USAPMHN letter to the New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing with concern about the plan to hold the annual conference of the New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis in Tel Aviv, Israel during June 2019.

As you may know, there is an international movement protesting the human rights violations victimizing the Palestinian people which are committed by the state of Israel. The protest takes the non-violent form of avoiding the location of academic meetings and cultural events within Israel. Because these events cannot be attended by Palestinians and many other people, due to the obstructive policies and laws of Israel, the events themselves cannot be inclusive or open forums for genuine debate. Protesting the location these events is not aimed at individual persons or professional groups, but at the culpability of the state of Israel itself. We respectfully ask that you reconsider holding your meeting in Israel and that you choose another place instead.

There have been previous protests regarding other psychological and mental health organizations which plan to meet in Israel. One of these is the organization the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, which intends to hold its summer 2019 conference in Tel Aviv. The Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists earlier this month has issued a formal statement in condemnation of that conference, urging all clinicians internationally to stay away from it. Their statement is here:

We kindly request that you support the clinicians in Palestine and the international movement for justice by reconsidering the location of your NSL 2019 conference.

Very truly yours,

Samah Jabr MD, psychiatrist
Elizabeth Berger MD MPhil, child psychiatrist
Rebecca Fadil LCSW, social worker
Christine Schmidt, psychoanalyst
USA-Palestine Mental Health Network

Brazil is at a crucial moment in its history. In the next three weeks we will face a choice that will sharply shape our horizon. We are all being called to define in a clear way what kind of society we want to be.
The entities that sign this Manifesto – Psychoanalytic Societies, Schools of Psychoanalysis and Associations of Psychoanalysts – are publicly expressing their immense apprehension in the face of a scenario that, blatantly, has been putting at risk the Democratic State of Law that we have been very hard at work with, and that has been sustaining Brazilian society in the last thirty years. We cannot let that happen!
Democracy is the only guarantor of our future as a nation, it is the only way towards a free, just and fraternal society. To maintain it, one must uphold the inalienable right to free expression of ideas and association – which translates into political, cultural, religious and sexual diversity, and the repudiation of all forms of prejudice, social, racial or sexual oppression. It is necessary to commit to the construction of a society that seeks permanently to reduce the abject economic inequality that still characterizes us.
Therefore, we urge all Brazilians to consciously use their vote as an instrument to defend the essential values of democracy. The moment we live does not admit hesitation!
Brasil, 10 de Outubro de 2018
O Brasil se encontra num momento crucial de sua história. Nas próximas três semanas estaremos diante de uma escolha que moldará de forma contundente nosso horizonte. Estamos todos sendo convocados a definir de maneira clara que tipo de sociedade queremos ser.
As entidades que assinam este Manifesto – Sociedades psicanalíticas, Escolas de Psicanálise e Associações de psicanalistas – vêm a público manifestar sua imensa apreensão diante de um cenário que, de maneira flagrante, vem pondo em risco o Estado Democrático de Direito que com grande esforço conquistamos, e que vem sustentando a sociedade brasileira nos últimos trinta anos. Não podemos deixar que isso aconteça!
A democracia é o único fiador de nosso futuro como nação, é o único caminho em direção a uma sociedade livre, justa e fraterna. Para mantê-la é preciso sustentar o direito inalienável de livre expressão de ideias, e de associação – que se traduzem na diversidade política, cultural, religiosa e sexual, e no repúdio a toda forma de preconceito, opressão social, racial ou sexual. É necessário apostar na construção de uma sociedade que busque de forma permanente reduzir a abjeta desigualdade econômica que ainda nos caracteriza.
Por isso, instamos todos os brasileiros a usarem conscientemente seu voto como um instrumento de defesa dos valores essenciais da democracia. O momento que vivemos não admite hesitação!
This Manifesto signed by:
·  Movimento Articulação das Entidades Psicanalíticas Brasileiras:
·  ALEPH – Escola de Psicanálise
·  Associação dos membros filiados ao Instituto Durval Marcondes – SBPSP
·  Associação Psicanalítica de Porto Alegre – APPOA
·  Centro de Estudos Psicanalíticos de Porto Alegre – CEPdePA
·  Círculo Brasileiro de Psicanálise – CBP
·  Círculo Psicanalítico do Rio de Janeiro – CPRJ
·  Corpo Freudiano Escola de Psicanálise
·  Departamento de Psicanálise – SEDES SAPIENTIAE
·  Departamento Formação em Psicanálise – SEDES SAPIENTIAE
·  Escola Brasileira de Psicanálise – EBP
·  Escola de Psicanálise dos Fóruns do Campo Lacaniano – EPFCL/BRASIL
·  Escola Lacaniana de Psicanálise do Rio de Janeiro
·  Escola Letra Freudiana
·  Federação Brasileira de Psicanálise – FEBRAPSI
·  Laço Analítico/Escola de Psicanálise – LAEP
·  Práxis Lacaniana/Formação em Escola – Niterói
·  Sigmund Freud Associação Psicanalítica
·  Sociedade de Psicanálise da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro – SPCRJ
·  Tempo Freudiano Associação Psicanalítica
·  Academia de Psicanálise (SP)
·  Associação Lacaniana de Brasília
·  Associação Psicanalítica de Nova Friburgo
·  Centro de Estudos Freudianos – CEF – Recife
·  Centro de Estudos psicanalíticos do Núcleo de Psicanálise e ação social e de Atendimento do CEP
·  Círculo Psicanalítico de Minas Gerais – CPMG
·  Círculo Psicanalítico de Pernambuco – CPP
·  Clínica Pública de Psicanálise – SP
·  Coletivo Margens da Clínica – SP
·  Coletivo Psicanalistas pela Democracia
·  Departamento de Psicanálise de crianças – SEDES SAPIENTIAE
·  Departamento de Psicanálise do Instituto de Psicologia da UERJ – DPSA/IP/UERJ
·  Equipe Clínico Política RJ
·  Espaço Brasileiro de Estudos Psicanalíticos – EBEP
·  Fórum do Campo Lacaniano – Rio de Janeiro
·  Fórum do Campo Lacaniano – São Paulo
·  INCERE – Centro de Referência à Infância – Fortaleza
·  Instituto APPOA – Clínica, Intervenção e Pesquisa em Psicanálise
·  Instituto Quereres – Florianópolis
·  Instituto Vox de Pesquisa em Psicanálise – São Paulo
·  Invenção Freudiana – Transmissão da Psicanálise – Fortaleza
·  Laboratório de Estudos de Psicanálise da Infância e da Educação – IPUSP/USP
·  Laboratório de Pesquisas em Psicanálise, arte e política – LAPPAP/UFRGS
·  Laboratório de Psicanálise da Universidade Federal do Ceará
·  Maiêutica Florianópolis – Instituição Psicanalítica
·  Núcleo de Pesquisa Psicanálise e Sociedade da PUC-SP
·  Núcleo de Psicanálise do Serviço de Psicoterapia do Instituo de Psiquiatria do HCEMUSP
·  Programa de Mestrado Profissional em Psicanálise e Políticas Públicas do Instituo de Psicologia da UERJ
·  Programa de Pós-graduação em Psicanálise do Instituto de Psicologia da UERJ
·  Programa de Pós-graduação em Psicanálise, clínica e cultura da UFRGS
·  Programa de Pós-graduação em Teoria Psicanalítica da UFRJ
·  Psicanálise na Praça (Porto Alegre)
·  Psicanálise na Praça Roosevelt – São Paulo
·  Psicanálise na Rua – Varginha/MG
·  Psicanálise do Beco do Candeeiro – Cuiabá/MT
·  Psicanálise no Jacarezinho (Comunidade do RJ)
·  Rede Interamericana de Psicanálise e Política – REDIPPOL
·  Rede Internacional Coletivo Amarrações: políticas com adolescentes
·  Sociedade Brasileira de Psicanálise de São Paulo – SBPSP
·  Sociedade Brasileira de Psicanálise do Rio de Janeiro – SBPRJ
·  Sociedade de Psicanálise Iracy Doyle – SPID
·  Sociedade Internacional de História da Psiquiatria e da Psicanálise
·  Sociedade Psicanalítica do Recife – SPR
·  Toro – Escola de Psicanálise – Maceió.