Analize this: Martin Kemp, ‘The psychoanalytic encounter with settler colonialism in Palestine/Israel’, International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 17, 2, 2020, pp. 93-125


Abstract: The paper explores the relationship between the legacy of Western imperialism and the complicity of the “international community” in the settler colonial project taking place in Palestine/Israel. It analyzes some key aspects of Western discourse that inhibit an appreciation of non-Zionist perspectives, and which obstruct action to challenge the systemic human rights abuses to which Palestinians are subject. It argues that psychoanalysis, as a discipline and a profession, participates in a wider societal failure, adapting itself to priorities that conflict with its ostensible ethical foundations. Recent years have seen a strengthening of the worldwide movement in support of Palestinian rights in general, and the growth of activism within the mental health community in particular. The exchanges between activists and mainstream professional organizations are here interrogated to identify key points of contention. The paper considers the impact of the settler colonial enterprise on Israeli society as a whole, and on the politics of Israeli psychoanalysis, to support the argument that neutrality is not an option for the international mental health community. It concludes that principled engagement initiatives are necessary to meet mental health workers’ professional responsibilities to do no harm, and to contribute to the future health of the relationship between Palestinian and Jewish Israeli societies.

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