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  A Message from the SPSSI Executive Committee on the release of Psychologists' Response to the Violence in Gaza

This statement was approved by SPSSI’s Executive Committee on April 2, 2024.

This is a statement of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Division 9 of the American Psychological Association, and does not represent the position of the American Psychological Association or any of its other divisions or subunits.

Today, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) is releasing a new resource guide: Psychologists’ Response to the Violence in Gaza. While recognizing that our understanding of and response to this ongoing violence cannot be separated from our individual and collective values, we believe that the psychologists and other social scientists of SPSSI have a responsibility to foster public understanding of the current situation in Gaza and to respond in ways that are grounded in scientific evidence. This resource guide was crafted with this responsibility in mind; it is focused on providing our members with information and guidance for responding to this conflict in their professional lives as educators, researchers, therapists, and advocates.

At times like this we reflect on the lessons of our founding generation, who started SPSSI in 1936 on the eve of the deadliest war in human history. It was their hope that SPSSI could serve both as an instigator of new research on vital social issues and as a source of information for the public and policymakers. They used psychological science to speak out against the inevitability of war and any inherent violence in human nature. As the present stewards of SPSSI, we knew it important to engage carefully with the SPSSI community and be deliberate in our content and delivery of this guide. We appreciate your patience as we worked to assemble the resources we share today.

Consistent with this organizational history, we conclude this guide by urging policymakers to support: an immediate and permanent ceasefire and cessation of war and violence in Gaza, all of Palestine/Israel, and the Middle East more broadly; the release of all political prisoners, detainees, and hostages; the provision of humanitarian aid, resources, and logistical support to address material and psychological damage; and sincere efforts toward lasting peace and justice in the region.

This resource guide is certainly not all there is to say about the ongoing violence in Gaza, but we believe the information it contains can help our members make sense of the multifarious consequences of the conflict, which extend far outside the Middle East and implicate generations in trauma, displacement, and harm.

The task force that wrote and reviewed this document are members of the SPSSI community with diverse expertise, backgrounds, and perspectives. At times, they did not always agree on every element or phrasing in this guide—nor, we expect and understand, will all readers—but they always worked with respect and integrity towards the ultimate goal of providing something valuable to our community and the ultimate ideal of peace. Some task force members are named on this document. Others have chosen not to be named. For some, this decision was motivated by a culture of fear and academic illiberalism impacting institutions across the world. We thank each of them for their efforts.

Click Here to Access Psychologists' Response to the Violence in Gaza.

Patrick Grzanka, President
Abigail Stewart, Past-President
Heather Bullock, President-Elect
Alaina Brenick, Secretary Treasurer
Jamie Franco, Council Member Representative