Clifford Rieders

Psychologists File Complaint Against APA



(Philadelphia, PA) Jewish members of the American Psychological Association (APA) have filed a formal complaint against the professional association, alleging that an official statement put out by APA Division 39, Section IX relating to Israel’s war against Hamas was clearly antisemitic.

The psychologists, Jon Mills, Alan Slomowitz, and Anna Edwards, contend that the statement, published “in support of Palestine” amounts to an attack on the existence of the State of Israel and a racist threat to the Jewish community worldwide. Moreover, the members’ complaint accuses the APA of falsely speaking in their name and inaccurately stating the history of the Middle East region in its efforts to support the terrorist organization which perpetrated a horrific massacre of Israelis on Oct. 7th. The members strongly contest the Statement which purports to be “unanimous” in “our solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle and condemnation of the Zionist ideology as a result of the occupation, oppression, and dispossession of the Palestinian people” and label it as highly offensive to them.

The psychologists are represented in their Complaint by attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Dohrmann, Mowrey, Humphrey & Waters in Williamsport, Pennsylvania with funding assistance from Rieders Foundation. Attorney Rieders was assisted by the Shurat HaDin Law Center, an NGO based in Israel which brought this matter to the attention the firm and asked for their pro bono services.

The Complaint demands that specific disciplinary actions be taken against the signatories of the Statement for engaging in hate speech and using the rhetoric of bigotry and discrimination, which are violations of the APA’s policies against antisemitism. The psychologists allege that they were shocked and distressed by the association’s Statement, which they insist is unprofessional, unscientific and extreme, and should not have been put out in the membership’s name.

In addition, the Complaint notes that the Statement condemning Israel is historically inaccurate and does not mention the unprovoked cross-border attack perpetrated on Oct. 7th by the terrorist Hamas organization that resulted in the murder, rape and mutilation of more than 1,200 Israeli civilians. To date, scores of innocent hostages are still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

The psychologists argue that the Statement signatories seek to turn reasoning on its head to categorize the Jews living in the land of Israel as an illegal occupation. In addition, they insist it evidences an extremist intent by the signatories to use the ideology of “decolonialization and liberation” to call for the destruction of Israel. Only in passing does the Statement mention that the signatories do not “condone” the actions of Hamas that have “targeted Israeli civilians.” However, the Statement then goes on to justify the slaughter of Jews based upon a narrative of a “75-year history of Palestinian displacement” which the psychologists claim is historically false.

While the Statement denies it is antisemitic, the language calling for the destruction of Israel, its ideology, and the people who support a national homeland for the Jews, as well as the Zionist cause in general, plainly is racist, outrageous, and harmful. Moreover, it violates the widely regarded International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definitions of antisemitism, which has been adopted by the United States government.

The complaint avers that hateful, politicized and inaccurate proclamations such as the APA Statement have no place in any professional and scientific association and that it should be withdrawn, apologized for and its signatories disciplined.

About the Author
Cliff Rieders is a Board Certified Trial Advocate in Williamsport, is Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
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