The Steering Committee of the USA-PMHN sent the following letter to the Board of the ISPS on October 23, 2018:
We are writing with concern about the plan to hold the biennial conference of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis in Tel Aviv from December 16-17, 2018.
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. This group represents approximately 20,000 mental health clinicians within Palestine. 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 December, 2018 conference.
Very truly yours,
Elizabeth Berger MD MPhil, child psychiatrist
Rebecca Fadil LCSW, social worker
Christine Schmidt LCSW, psychoanalyst
USA-Palestine Mental Health Network