Gaza’s Children; Psychoanalytic Innocence; Sally Rooney; Humanitarian Medicine; the IHRA and more

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1. Events
a) Gaza Children’s Mental Health, Under Siege & Under the Bombs Saturday, Nov 6, 2021 (3pm-4:30pm London, 6:00-7:30 pm Jerusalem)

The UKPMHN is proud to be co-sponsoring this online event, that will include panellists Dr Yasser Abu Jamei, (Gaza Community Mental Health Programme), Dr. William Slaughter, (Gaza Mental Health Foundation/Harvard Medical School0, and Dr. Jasem Humeid, (Gaza Ahli Hospital Psychology Program). It will be moderated by, Dr. Rukhsana Chaudhry, (G. Washington Univ. Clinical Psychology; Dir. of American Muslim Health). The main sponsor is the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace.
See below for conference flyer: please circulate as widely as possible.

To Register click here or to go this link:

b) Café Palestine 29: 30th October (3.45pm UK, 5.45pm Palestine).
At the next Café opening we are anticipating a fascinating conversation amongst colleagues and activists from Haifa, chaired by Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian. More information in our next mailing.

2. Psychoanalytic Innocence/Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: the work of L and S Sheehi

We are delighted to feature here the work of Lara and Stephen Sheehi, whose book Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practising Resistance in Palestine will appear next month. 

a) ‘Psychoanalytic Innocence: The Ideological Underpinnings of Theory and Practice’ is a presentation on YouTube given by Lara Sheehi to the Psychological Association of South Africa on 27th Sept. It is a powerful indictment of the way that the psychoanalytic mainstream colludes with social oppression, taking its relationship to the settler colonial regime in Israel/Palestine as a case in point. Highly Recommended. 

b) ‘Psychoanalysis Under Occupation’ is a treat still in store: both Lara and Stephen are presenting to the Analysis & Activism collective on October 29th 8pm (UK) 10pm (Palestine). To Join this Zoom Meeting, use this link: 

3. How Humanitarian Medicine Fails in a Settler Colonial Reality

These two articles, both by Palestinian paediatrician from Haifa Osama Tanous, confront us with critical questions about the role played by aid agencies and medical human rights organisations in the conditions facing Palestinians under colonial occupation. 

a) “Israel-Palestine: How the West co-opts the human rights industry”Who is served by the endless reports that document gross human rights violations, and the psychological and physical damage they cause? Tanous asks this in relation to an analysis (shared in a recent UKPMHN mailing) of the psychological effects of home demolitions. Have these reports, he asked, become “meaningless by inaction, duplication, and inefficiencies”? 

b) The Dilemmas of Practising Humanitarian Medicine in GazaA fascinating, and disturbing, reflection on his brief time as a member of a Physicians for Human Rights-Israel medical team visiting Gaza. Both these papers need to be read in their entirety – but we include this brief comment from Tanous’s comments on the emphasis laid on enabling Gazan patients to access Israeli hospitals: ‘For Israeli doctors treating Palestinian children in Israeli hospitals, the patients are simply coming from a “less privileged place” to a “developed country.” … This kind of humanitarianism not only provides the doctors with experience and academic publications, it allows them to stand outside of history, in a place of neutrality, where they can ignore the political and historical circumstances that created the victims they are saving. It allows them to bypass politics and intervene only enough to stop the suffering in front of them.” 

4. Repression and Resistance 

a) Village life in the Jordan Valley and South Hebron Hills: IDF and settler violenceTwo articles illustrate the nature of relations between the settler colonial state and the Palestinian people in ways that don’t interest the mainstream media. In a first, we have a harrowing report by Yumna Patel on the daily violent of Israeli soldiers against West Bank villagers attempting to bring in the harvest. As Munther Amira, an activist with the Popular Resistance Committee in the West Bank, (and a former presenter at Café Palestine), notes: “The olive harvest season is a blessed time for Palestinians. But for the settlers and soldiers it is a time of destruction, blood and violence.”In the second, there is an interview with Basil al-Adraa, a Palestinian journalist and activist from the Masafer Yatta village of al-Tuwani. Al-Adraa has been accused on Israeli TV of causing the arson committed by Zionist settlers in a particularly vicious ‘pogrom’ on 28th September. 

b) Novelist Sally Rooney refuses to engage with Apartheid:“… I simply do not feel it would be right for me under the present circumstances to accept a new contract with an Israeli company that does not publicly distance itself from apartheid and support the UN-stipulated rights of the Palestinian people.” We welcome Rooney’s clear statement in solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, and wish her well in coping with the inevitable storm of animosity that will now be directed against her. We welcome too the Google and Amazon employees who have called for an end to technological cooperation with the Israeli military, stating that ‘we are obligated to speak out against violations of [our] core values’. Together, their words might be seen as a challenge to the mental health community, and a model for Palestinian allayship: are we going to continue to turn a blind eye to the appalling consequences of the settler colonial process underway in Palestine? If you agree with Rooney, one of the now 1,342 artists who have signed the Irish Artists’ Pledge to Boycott Israel, do consider signing the Mental Health Workers’ Pledge for Palestine, and share our DO NO HARM letter with your colleagues, both available here: 

c) ‘No IHRA Definition’ An important step forward in the struggle against the misuse of anti-Semitism allegations against anti-racist activists has been taken in a joint project by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Committee for Universities of Palestine and Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Do explore their website. This page, for example, provides a list of individuals and groups who have rejected the IHRA ‘Definition’ and their reasons for doing so:

d) Palestinian-Canadian artist Rana Nazzal Hamadeh discusses the importance of the land and belonging

Rana has an exhibition currently showing at the University of Toronto entitled “1/1000th of a Dunam” which explores Palestinian assertions of belonging through the site of soil—an epistemic space where land and belonging are imagined. Rana is in conversation with Dr. Chandni Desai about this work on Wednesday 20th October at 6pm (UK) 8pm (Palestine). 
Click here for link and further details.

Earlier this year, Rana was interviewed during the uprising in May this year, where she took part in protests in Ramallah. She reflects on the nature of colonialism in Palestine, the narratives that disguise this reality, censorship by the social media giants, and links with settler colonialism in Canada…