Prof. ISRAEL W. CHARNY, Ph.D.
Return to the speaking tour announcmentNarrative Biography:
Israel W. Charny is Executive Director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, which he founded with the late Shamai Davidson, M.D. and Elie Wiesel in 1979.
He is widely respected and credited as a prime mover in the development of a field of Genocide Studies, in which he has persevered in his leadership for 35 years, often notwithstanding considerable resistance from those who have sought to establish the overarching uniqueness of the Holocaust at the expense of denying the genocides of other peoples or minimizing their significance and comparability to the Holocaust.
***Israel Charny received his A.B. in Psychology with Distinction from Temple University in 1952, and his. Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Rochester in 1957. He established and directed the first group psychological practice in the Philadelphia area (1958-1973), where he was also the first Professor of Psychology at the newly founded Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.
He has been devoted to the study of the Holocaust and genocide since the mid 1960s. His first publication on the subject which appeared in Jewish Education in 1968 was "Teaching the Violence of the Holocaust: A Challenge to Educating Potential Future Oppressors and Victims for Nonviolence." He is committed to the ideal that understanding the processes which brought about the unbearable evil of the Holocaust be joined with the age-old Jewish tradition of contributing to the greater ethical development of human civilization, and that a unique memorial to the Holocaust be forged in the development of new concepts of prevention of genocide to all peoples.
On moving to Israel, Dr. Charny was the Professor of Psychology and Family Therapy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he was the Founder and first Director of the Program for Advanced Studies in Integrative Psychotherapy (Family, Couples, Individual and Group Therapy) of the Martin Buber Center and Department of Psychology. He was also the Founder and first president of The Israel Family Therapy Association (1975-1979); Associate Professor of Psychology in the School of Social Work at Tel Aviv University (1973 until his retirement in 1992), where he founded and directed the Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Program in Family Therapy, and also the Graduate Program in Family Therapy.
In 1979 he began preparations, with the late Shamai Davidson, M.D. and Elie Wiesel, for the first International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide held in in Tel Aviv in 1982, serving as the Executive Director and Chairman of the Conference. As reported in numerous stories in the New York Times and other world press, he saw the Conference through to a successful conclusion, standing up against the efforts of several governments to close the conference down. While some scholars did drop out, the incident served to galvanize interest for the further study of denial of genocides, a field in which Dr. Charny, as a psychologist, has offered significant contributions.
Also in 1982, Dr. Charny published How Can We Commit the Unthinkable?: Genocide, the Human Cancer which contains a major proposal for a GENOCIDE EARLY WARNING SYSTEM which has been commended, among others, by the1985 Whitaker Commission Report to the U.N. In 1985 he founded, and edited until 1995, the Internet on the Holocaust and Genocide the first interdisciplinary network for researchers from many different fields, and the first ecumenical forum for activists from different ethnic groups with their separate agendas of the genocide of their own people. In 1988 he founded and began editing the resource series, Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review (4 volumes: 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997);
Dr. Charny has also served for ten years on the Board of Directors of the International Family Therapy Association, including as President-Elect (1992-1995), President (1995-1997). He has been honored by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy as an International Fellow and as a "Master" in family therapy.
His most recent work is the creation of the first-ever encyclopedia in the field of Genocide Studies, The Encyclopedia of Genocide, written by nearly100 experts from many countries. This two volume 720 page reference tool, which brings together in a single edition the results of decades of scholarship, was recently published in December 1999.
Publications in Holocaust and Genocide Studies:
The Encyclopedia of Genocide, Israel W. Charny, Editor in Chief; Rouben Paul Adalian, Steven L. Jacobs, Eric Markusen, Samuel Totten, Associate Editors; Marc I. Sherman, Bibliographic Editor; Pauline Cooper, Managing Editor; Forewords by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Simon Wiesenthal; [Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1999, Two volumes, 720p.]
Co-editor with Samuel Totten and William Parsons, Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts [Garland, 1995; Paperback, expanded with title change, Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views, Garland, 1997, 488 p.]
Editor of the book by the late Shamai Davidson, Holding on to Humanity - The Message of Holocaust Survivors: The Shamai Davidson Papers, edited by Israel W. Charny with the editorial assistance of Daphna Fromer ; foreword by Robert Jay Lifton ; biographical note by Micha Neumann. [New York University Press, 1992, paperback 1995, xxvii, 243 p.]
Founder of the 4 volume series: Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, and editor of Volumes 1, 2, and 3: Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review (Volume 1),contributing editors, Alan L. Berger, et al. New York, N.Y. : Facts on File Publications,Mansell Publishing Co. in London, 1988; Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review (Volume 2 ) 1991 The Widening Circle of Genocide-Volume 3 in the Series, Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, with a foreword by Irving Louis Horowitz1994 [Transaction Publishers, Rutgers State University, New Brunswick, NJ], xxvii, 375 p.; Series Editor for the fourth volume: Krell, Robert , and Sherman, Marc I.(Eds.), "Medical and Psychological Effects of Concentration Camps on Holocaust Victims"-Volume 4 in the Series, Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, 1997 [Transaction Publishers]
He was the founder and editor of the international newsletter, Internet on the Holocaust and Genocide for the ten-year period 1985-1995, at which time Internet was adopted by the Centre for Comparative Genocide Studies of Macquarie University in Sidney, Australia which continues its publication under the name International Network on Holocaust and Genocide.
Editor of Toward the Understanding and Prevention of Genocide, proceedings of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide [Westview Press, 1984], 396 p.
Editor with Shamai Davidson of the Book of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide [Institute on the Holocaust & Genocide, 1983]
How Can We Commit the Unthinkable? Genocide, The Human Cancer, in collaboration with Chanan Rapaport ; foreword by Elie Wiesel.(Westview Press, 1982, Paperback by Hearst Books (Wm. Morrow), xvi, 430 p. The book was republished in Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro in 1998 as Anatomio do Genocidio: Uma Psicolo-cia da A-cressdo Humanawith a new Introduction and Bibliography.
Strategies against violence : design for nonviolent change, edited by Israel W. Charny, [Boulder : Westview Press, 1978, 417 p.]
In the field of psychotherapy, he has authored two books on marriage, a popular work, Marital Love and Hate (Macmillan, 1972), which was widely featured in the media in the US, which had been developed from a classic professional article ("Marital love and hate" in Family Process); and years later a professional work, Existential/Dialectical Marital Therapy (Brunner/Mazel, 1992) which has been reviewed as “unusual and valuable”, “penetrating”, and "an appreciative, mature book ... that is a celebration of marriage."
He has published many articles including on the psychotherapist as a teacher of nonviolence (Voices: The Art and Science of Psychotherapy); the integration of individual and family therapy (Family Process)-, existential psychotherapy (Journal of Marital and Family Therapy); existential/dialectical marital evaluation and treatment (Family Process, and Contemporary Family Therapy); extramarital relationships (Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy); denials of the Holocaust and genocide (Patterns of Prejudice; International Network on Holocaust and Genocide; and Revue due monde Armenien moderne et contemporain); studies of the capacity for evil (Holocaust and Genocide Studies, American Journal Orthopsychiatry, and Journal Traumatic Stress), doing harm to others (Psychiatry), diagnosis and treatment of evil (Handbook of Relational Diagnosis, edited by Florence Kaslow), and excessive power strivings (Israel Journal Psychiatry).
Roles in Peace Research & Holocaust and Genocide Studies:
1979-1982 First International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide (Tel Aviv, June, 1982) Executive Director, Chairman of Conference
1982 Institute of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide Founder, with Shamai Davidson and Elie Wiesel
1982- Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide [originally Institute of the International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide] Executive Director
1966-1971 Group for Research in the Psychology of Aggression and Non-Violence Absorbed in the American Orthopsychiatric Association Study Group on Mental Health Aspects of Aggression, Violence and War (see below) Coordinator
1970-1972 American Orthopsychiatric Association Force on Quality of Life, Chairman
1970-1973 American Orthopsychiatric Association Study Group on Mental Health Aspects of Aggression, Violence, and War Chairman
1970-1973 American Orthopsychiatric Association Council on Social Issues Member
1970-1971 Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development (COPRED) Delegate to the Founding Conference, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 1970 Member, Organizing Executive Committee
1977-1980 Israel Institute Study International Affairs Member of Council
1983- Institute for the Study of Genocide, John Jay College Criminal Justice, City University, New York Member, Board of Directors
1985-1995 Founder and Editor, Internet on the Holocaust and Genocide
1985-1995 Cambodia Documentation Commission, New York: Member, Board of Advisors
1985-1995 Institute for the Study of the Armenian Genocide, National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), Cambridge, MA Member, Board of Advisors
1990-1995 Armenian Genocide Archive [Chadwyck-Healy Inc. and the Armenian Assembly of America] Member, Advisory Board
1990- Philadelphia Center on the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Educational Consultant
1990-1992 International Peace Research Association: International Commission on Peace in the Middle East Member
1992-1993 International Peace Research Association: Commission on Peace Building in World Crisis Areas Member
1992-1995 Joint Committee of Israel Foreign Ministry and Lapid, the Movement to Commemorate the Implications the Holocaust: Committee to Monitor Events of Mass Killing in the World Member
1994 Association of Genocide Scholars Founder, with Helen Fein, Roger Smith and Robert Melson
1990 American Psychiatric Association, DSM-IV Advisory Panel on Diagnostic Classification Member of Panel: consulted on diagnosis of Victimization
1991-1993 American Psychological Association, Division of Family Psychology, Task Force on Diagnosis and Classification Member of Panel: consulted on diagnosis of Evil Personality and Doing Harm to Others
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