AvenirSocial - Professionelle Soziale Arbeit Schweiz

Open Letter concerning the censure of IUSW by the IFSW Executive Committee

The board of AvenirSocial, The Swiss Association of Social Workers, member of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), write this letter deeply concerned by the censure against the Israel Union of Social Workers. We estimate this decision as counterproductive, undemocratic and unprofessional; furthermore, we deplore the way it was taken as highly questionable, violating common rules of law.

Before we justify and substantiate these heavy accusations we want to make clear that we do not question the IFSW call for Munther Amira issued by IFSW. AvenirSocial itself endorsed the call. This is not the point of our concern. We think that Human Rights of Palestinian in the occupied territories are violated and that public and social workers protest against the Israeli policy is justified in many cases. But there is a red line when protests against Israel are denying the right of existence of Israel and this is often the case.

There are, as we see it, from the sparse information given by the IFSW Global Executive (IFSW news 26th March 2018) mainly three points brought forward against the Israeli Union of Social Workers (IUSW) to justify the censure. These are:
1) IUSW does not act as an independent social work voice.
2) IUSW has stated that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an end to the occupation is not a social work issue.
3) IUSW does not work toward peace and does not act in a way that is consistent with the Federation’s policies and in particular with the Statement of Ethical Principles 4.1.1. “Respecting the right to self-determination - Social workers should respect and promote people’s right to make their own choices and decisions, irrespective of their values and life choices, provided this does not threaten the rights and legitimate interests of others.”

According to the IFSW statement social workers should work towards peace and when it is safe to do so, they have a duty to advocate for the rights of all peoples.