BDS IN THE PEWS
Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP)
August 04, 2013
- Website: http://www.gcmhp.net/en/
- Founded in 1990 by Dr. Eyed el-Sarraj, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) aims, according to its website, “to enhance the capacity of the community in dealing with mental health problems based on the principles of justice, humanity, and respect for human rights… through working with three major [Palestinian] target groups: children, women, and victims of organized violence and torture.”
- Funding: According to its 2012 financial statement, GCMHP received $3,501,968 in grants from a wide array of government agencies, foundations, and private donors.
- Donors include: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Palestine), United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT), United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Norwegian Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority, Bread for the World (Germany), Quaker Service Norway, Natioal Endowment for Democracy, Medico International Switzerland, Deutsche Geselischaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (Germany), Grassroots International (USA), War Child (Holland), Palestinian Counseling Center.
- Rhetoric: Uses unsubstantiated medical claims as an avenue to criticize the Israeli government, including allegations that the Jewish state engages in “systematic state organized violence,” “collective punishment” “massacres,” “war crimes,” and a system of “apartheid” against the Palestinian people.
- Claiming to offer “professional insight” into the reason why Israeli soldiers “shoot children in front of their parents,” Dr. Ahmed Abu-Tawahini, the General Director of the GCMHP headquarters in Gaza City, appeared before the UN’s anti-Israel Goldstone panel in 2009, claiming that such an action can only be explained by “the psychological instability” and desire of the Israeli soldier to “restore his lost image.”
- Dr. Eyad Saraj further claimed that the “Palestinian in the eyes of the Israel solider is not an equal human being,” alleging that “inside Israel there is an identification with the aggressor, the Nazi.”
- Activities: GCMHP has repeatedly endorsed, promoted, and received funding from BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns and released a statement stating: “It is essential to boycott Israeli products as an effective measure to hinder the economy feeding the war crime machinery behind the massacres.”
- In March 2013, GCMHP published the 85th issue of Amwaj Magazine, which included a report on "Israeli Aggression on Gaza” that highlights “the role of effective resistance during the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza, in addition to the psychological and social effects of this aggression against citizens of the Gaza Strip.”
- In April 2011, published an article on its website, “War Crimes and Tragedy: The Occupation of Palestine,” in which the author claims: “We can no longer remain silent nor turn our backs and pretend ignorance to a gruesome occupation of stolen land, the cruelest collective punishment in the open-air sewer prison where Palestinians once lived in peace. The situation has deteriorated as we observe Jewish settlers who spew their hate with such revulsion and racism on Palestinian families, it makes my stomach turn.”
- Eyad Sarraj, president of the GCMHP is on the Board of Advisors of “Free Gaza Movement,” a radical group of internationals who organize flotillas to “directly challenge the Israel siege by initiating confrontations with the Israeli navy.”
- Signed a statement following the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, stating: “We, from Gaza, call on you to demonstrate and support the courageous men and women on the Flotilla and join the, many now murdered on a humanitarian aid mission. We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials for war crimes and the International protection of the civilians of Gaza. We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign of a country proving again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged.”
- In November 2005, GCMHP joined with PHR-I to petition the High Court of Israel to stop the sonic booms, which were introduced as an alternative to combat responses to terrorists firing missiles into Israel. In petitioning the court, GCMHP and PHR-I were following a central part of the Durban Strategy: portraying non-lethal, harm-reducing measures by Israel as violations of international law.