Defending academic freedom; Amnesty says ‘It’s Apartheid’; Samah Jabr’s latest article; Recording of Café Pal 32 ‘Psychoanalysis Under Occupation’

In this edition of the newsletter:

1. Sheffield University brings shame upon itself: UKPMHN letter supports Shahd Abusalama
2. Amnesty International designates Israel an apartheid society
3. ‘Gaza, the Betrayed’: a new article by Dr Samah Jabr.
4. ‘Silencing Palestine’: short video
5. Recording of Café Palestine 32: Psychoanalysis Under Occupation

1. UKPMHN protests the targeting of academic Shahd Abusalama by Sheffield Hallam UniversityWe wish to draw the University’s attention to the fact that this type of character assassination is not an isolated case but part of a UK-wide, systematic attempt to use the IHRA definition to silence the voice of Palestinian colleagues in many institutional sectors. The intention of this type of coordinated campaign is precisely to deny Palestinians, the freedom to name their oppression and to engage in political activity against it.’

This is an extract from the Network’s letter of protest, joining the many others who are loudly objecting to Sheffield Hallam’s investigation into Gazan refugee Ms Shahd Abusalama. It is shameful that the people who should be at the forefront of defending academic freedom should, by their embrace of the IHRA ‘definition’, have volunteered to police our university campuses on behalf of a racist state. Some may remember Shahd’s moving contribution to the conference Palestinian Childhoods: Human Rights, Mental Health and Resistance co-sponsored by the Network and the Centre for Researching and Embedding Human Rights, at Birkbeck University in March 2019.

2. A ‘Cruel system of domination’ and a ‘Crime against humanity’: Amnesty International
Amnesty International has joined Palestinian human rights organisations, Human Rights Watch, and B’tselem in declaring that Israel has created an apartheid system in historic Palestine. Apartheid is a crime under international law: we all have a duty to confront it. The report is available in English and Arabic at the link above. Watch the hour-long press conference here:

3. Gaza, the Betrayed a new article by Dr Samah Jabr.

Samah was recently able to visit Gaza the first time, and has published some of her impressions. The title, and the second part of the extract included below, ask us to focus not only on Israeli aggression, but also on the even more painful indifference and collusion of those upon whom Gaza ought to be able to rely upon for protection and support.

“I left Gaza very early on a Sunday morning to catch up with my work in the West Bank. I encountered the endless line of Palestinian laborers waiting to cross the Erez checkpoint to work. I was told that they had been waiting since 4am. In their lean bodies, dark wrinkled faces, cheap cigarettes and the plastic bags they carried with a change of underwear, I saw a tableau of modern slavery….… If Gaza were one person, her deepest trauma would not be the enemy’s aggression but the betrayal by her neighbours, her brothers and her sisters. We have yet to find a national remedy for this betrayal.”

4. Silencing Palestine

A 20 minute video from 2017, this still makes compelling and deeply disturbing viewing. The report concludes: ‘As resistance inside occupied Palestine becomes increasingly strangled, resistance on the outside grows more essential.

5. Café Palestine 32: Psychoanalysis Under Occupation

For the recording, click here

All the Café Palestine events have been unique and special in their own way. This one was still a particular pleasure to host. Lara and Stephen Sheehi, authors of the recently published book ‘Psychoanalysis Under Occupation’, appeared with some of the Palestinian colleagues whose work informed the evolution of their thinking. We were privileged to hear from Najla Asmar, Yoa’d Ghanadry-Hakim, Fathy Flefel, Wadad Bouchahine, Rana Nashashibi, Mustafa Quossoqsi and Yasser abu Jamei. The conversation was moderated by Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Heba Zaphiriou-Zarifi.