The second national conference took place at the Amnesty International HQ in London with a starry cast!
Following the Palestinian ambassador, Professor Manuel Hassassian, Professor Jane Lindsay, Professor of Social Work Practice at Kingston University, offered an overview of the emergence of social work in Palestine and the challenges of developing the profession in a situation of enduring political conflict. After this the conference heard mainly from Palestinians who addressed issues arising from the military detention of Palestinian children in Israeli jails, the role of narrative therapy with victims of torture and Dr Mohamed Altawil and David Harrold described the work of the Palestine Trauma Centre in Gaza.
Barrie Levine, who teaches social work at Glasgow Caledonian University, discussed the charge which is often made that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. Commenting that Israel does not speak in his name he argued that while antiracist theory must remain a central plank in social work teaching equal attention must be given to anti-Semitism in view of the rise of far right parties in Europe. He described the charge that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic as the ‘new’ anti-Semitism arguing that this must not be used to undermine the struggle for Palestinian rights. Barrie is convenor of Scottish Jews for a Just Peace…
Guy Shannon, the mover and shaker of the Network allowed me a few minutes to speak about Sumud Palestine and I was very glad to have this opportunity. In my experience skilled and consistent supervision was in short supply during my 25 years in probation. I missed it and felt that my supervision of staff fell short as a result. How much more important it is for Palestinian social workers operating in the same repressive environment as their clients. I was able to speak about the steps Sumud is taking to remedy this.
David Harrold, who is a freelance teacher and writer who works mostly at the University of Hertfordshire, commented that Sumud and the PTC appeared to be ‘singing from the same hymn sheet. Maybe we will be in touch.
The Network will meet in Jerusalem next year!
12 November 2013