Gareth Smith (NSW) writes to the Byron Echo about a visit to Israel by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) 24Mar12 March 24, 2012

The pervasive influence of Israel on Australian society and politics has been noted in previous letters e.g. the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce listing, without permission, 508 Australian companies on their CleanTech website, including the Nimbin-based Rainbow Power Company. Now I discover that in 2009 the Australian Psychological Society (APS) organised a professional development trip to Israel only – there were no visits to the Occupied Palestinian Territories or meetings with Palestinian leaders or psychotherapists. The APS website states:  “It is clear that Israel is a natural laboratory for trauma research, and some high-powered research studies were reported to the group. The presentation from Professor Zehava Solomon, who is head of the Adler Research Center for Child Welfare and Protection and consults with the Israel Defence Force and the US military, highlighted that post traumatic stress is experienced in all situations where the military are serving in a war zone.”

The Palestine Trauma Centre, Gaza, estimates that there are about 700,000 suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead which killed 1,400 and caused massive destruction to the infrastructure of civil society: schools, water purification plants, hospitals etc. So if the APS psychologists were truly interested in PTSD treatment one would have thought they would have considered the victims of military aggression and not just its perpetrators.

The APS Code of Ethics states: “The Code is built on three general ethical principles. They are: A. Respect for the rights and dignity of people and peoples B. Propriety C. Integrity. The general principle, Respect for the rights and dignity of people and peoples, combines the principles of respect for the dignity and respect for the rights of people and peoples, including the right to autonomy and justice. By identifying with the Israeli aggressor rather than its victims the APS is not only in breech of their own ethical guidelines but in violation of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal which states that: “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual State”.

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