IASWG Response to the Hamas-Israel Crisis

As a Board, we express our steadfast support for all members directly affected by this crisis, as well as those who have family and/or friends in the affected zones. We hope your loved ones remain safe, and receive the aid and support they need – now, as well as in the future.

As representatives of a social group work organization, our Board wishes to make a collective statement about the crisis between Hamas and Israel. This statement has been delayed because of our difficulty in finding words to adequately address the horrific events that precipitated the crisis, and the overwhelming death and destruction that have accompanied Israel’s response to those events. The massive suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians is of grave concern to our members. As social workers we care deeply about both peoples, and do not side with either.
This crisis has unleashed further acts of violence and hate speech throughout the world – against Jews and Muslims alike. Some who are the objects of this hatred are feeling the effects of trauma for the first time. Others are being retraumatized, reliving past atrocities, dislocations, and trauma. All are in need of compassionate understanding and support. 
IASWG is an international organization comprised of group workers of diverse cultures, religions, races, social locations and viewpoints, with a common mission to bring together those who are in conflict -- helping them to find common ground, understand and accept one another’s needs and lived experience, and work together to develop creative solutions to even the most complex dilemmas. We believe this process to be the only route to genuine resolution. This applies to relationships between nations, as well as those between individuals.
Group work has an important role to play in this process – to create security where there is uncertainty, a feeling of belonging where there is alienation, and a vehicle for positive communal action where there is a sense of helplessness. It has been used to unite and give voice to people in the aftermath of conditions that seemed beyond hope. Through social group work nations, communities, and individuals can repair and heal.
We call on social group workers to use their knowledge, skills, and compassion to promote understanding, healing, and positive action during these exceedingly difficult times.