Following an Israeli outcry, the European Network for Mental Health Service Evaluation (ENMESH) announced this week that it will reconsider an earlier decision to cancel a planned conference in the occupation state of Israel.
ENMESH said in a statement that it would continue discussions with Israeli organizers “to see if we can proceed to host the ENMESH conference in Israel.”
The previous decision was “simply a case of a small and unfunded research network not having the resources to handle the type of campaign to which some conferences held in Israel can be subject to”, according to a previous statement made for QNN by, Tim Watkinson, spokesman of the University of Nottingham, where the executive committee chair of ENMESH professor Mike Slade works.
However, Israeli media reported earlier that the decision was prompted by fears of backlash from the international boycott movement against Israel.
In its statement, ENMESH announced that Slade would be stepping down and be replaced by Bernd Puschner, a professor of psychiatry at Ulm University in Germany. Puschner had served as secretary of the executive committee, but quit in protest of Slade’s decision.
ENMESH, which has 400 members, decided at its last biennial conference, which was held in early June in Lisbon, that its next gathering, scheduled for summer 2021, would take place in occupied Jerusalem.
Many mothers of Palestinian imprisoned and wounded children, whose mental health was negatively affected by the Israeli practices, sent a message for ENMESH urging not to hold its 2021 conference in the occupation state, which targets Palestinian children using intimidation tactics, aiming at breaking their morale and mental health.