International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

The Board of Directors of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy (IARPP) voted to hold their 2019 annual international conference in Tel-Aviv, Israel. A petition has been circulated, and a press release has been issued, protesting this decision and calling on the organization to reconsider. This statement, which we invite you to sign, represents our response to that petition. We make our statement in support of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas and viewpoints. We are adamantly opposed to academic boycotts and want IARPP to model inclusion and dialogue, especially in times of great conflict. We believe that academic boycotts are unlikely to serve the process of peacemaking or alleviate the suffering of people on either side.

We, the undersigned, support the decision of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) to hold its 2019 meeting in Tel Aviv. We carry a multitude of political views: Some of us stand in opposition to actions of the Israeli government and are among its greatest critics. We are distressed by Israel's approach to minority rights, immigration and treatment of Palestinians. We also believe that the most effective means of bringing about positive change requires inclusion, dialogue and the modeling of coexistence - not conflict. It is the right of all members to voice their views of history, current events and what would best promote peace in the Middle East. But we draw the line at boycotts, particularly academic and professional boycotts which interfere with academic freedom. Relational psychoanalysis is founded on "psychoanalytic dialogue."

If conference locations were chosen by judging the political decisions of national governments, we might have had a hard time deciding on the United States for our 2018 conference. Calls to relocate the 2019 conference location speak of the long intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict in simplistic terms, as if there is solely a victim and a victimizer. It is a complex geo-political and ethnic conflict with a long history. Both populations have experienced significant impediments to their mental and physical well-being. It is not the responsibility of IARPP to side with one view of this complex history - or to base organizational decisions on it. It will be the responsibility of IARPP to take steps to try to assure that Palestinian colleagues are able to acquire the necessary documents to attend and participate, and to do all we can to create a setting in which a many-sided open discussion of the wide range of issues and perspectives can take place-as it did at the IARPP conference in Tel Aviv in 2009.

Hosting the conference in Tel Aviv will permit us to welcome the diverse voices of our Israeli Jewish and Arab colleagues along with multiple international perspectives. Psychoanalytic Dialogue, more than ever, is needed across divides. We call for modeling inclusion and dialogue especially in times of great conflict. We look forward to a fruitful 2019 meeting.

We hope you will join us. Please consider adding your name to this statement.

This petition was created by:
Lewis Aron, Galit Atlas, Hazel Ipp, Malcolm Slavin, Joyce Slochower, Jill Salberg, and Sam Gerson.

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The Oppose Boycott of Israel by Psychoanalysts (IARPP) petition to International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy was written by Lewis Aron, Ph.D. and is in the category Education at GoPetition.