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Kemp, M. (2020). Editor's Introduction to the Special Issue: Settler Colonialism: The Palestinian/Israeli Case. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 17(2):87-92.

(2020). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 17(2):87-92


Editor's Introduction to the Special Issue: Settler Colonialism: The Palestinian/Israeli Case

Martin Kemp

The human rights lawyer, Raja Shehadeh, recently joined a group walking in the West Bank to view what “an anachronistic colonial project in a postcolonial age” looks like on the ground. He ponders the illegally constructed colonies that litter the landscape, their construction since 1967 unhindered by the international community. At one point, he writes,

we stood on a hill opposite the town of Sinjil, where we could see how the settlements were encircling every one of the Palestinian villages in the area, depriving the Palestinians of contiguous land. We were told that this policy of confinement and fragmentation was in accordance with plans set by the Israeli government as early as 1980.

The Palestinians, Shehadeh notes, have no expectations of the US or other western governments: “Instead, they place their hope in the solidarity offered by people sympathetic to their cause” (Shehadeh, 2019).

What is the relationship between “their cause” and the ethics underlying psychoanalysis as a profession, a discipline, and a therapeutic process? There has been no hesitation amongst psychotherapists in condemning the turn—for example in the United States—toward racialized nationalisms. It is readily conceded that here (as, for example, in Myanmar, India, and several East European countries), governing ideologies espouse values that run contrary to the philosophical basis of human rights law, destroy social inclusivity, and foment violence targeted at ethnic minorities.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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