Building Narrative Impact Toward Liberation
In 2022, Palestinians woke up daily to news that someone in their community had been killed, arrested, or made homeless by Israeli state violence. And every day, Palestinians worked to dismantle this oppressive reality alongside an international liberation movement. Visualizing Palestine’s work was situated within the following conditions for Palestinians on the ground this year:
Deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005
Israeli forces killed 220 Palestinians in the occupied territory in 2022 (167 in the West Bank and 53 in the Gaza Strip), including 48 children. These killings occurred in the context of systematic colonial violence. The Israeli military put multiple Palestinian cities under siege, arrested 6,500 Palestinians including 811 children, and were complicit in the rise of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian communities in 2022.
Among those killed was beloved Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. Israeli snipers murdered her as she covered the invasion of Jenin refugee camp and Israeli police beat mourners as they carried Shireen to her final resting place in Jerusalem. No one has been held accountable for the silencing of yet another powerful Palestinian voice.
Ethnic cleansing visible across ALL parts of historic Palestine
Palestinians continued to resist ethnic cleansing in all parts of their homeland in 2022. In the Naqab, Israeli police attacked Palestinians protesting their forced displacement. In the West Bank area of Masafer Yatta, Israel’s highest court authorized the largest mass displacement since 1967. In East Jerusalem neighborhoods, Palestinian families continued to face the threat of expulsion from their homes by state-backed Israeli settlers. And in Gaza, Palestinians marked 15 years of Israeli military closure and blockade.
Increasing attacks on Palestinian civil society
The Israeli government escalated its efforts to silence and shrink Palestinian civil society, invading and ransacking the offices of seven human rights organizations, who defiantly continued their work with widespread international support and the resumption of EU funding. Israeli authorities also deported Salah Hammouri, a Palestinian-French lawyer who was outspoken against Israeli human rights violations. These attacks were accompanied by repression of the Palestinian rights movement abroad.
Extreme Right Empowered in Israeli elections
The year ended with Benjamin Netanyahu back in power in coalition with an extreme right-wing government that will further institutionalize the settler colonial project and the dispossession of Palestinians.
Amidst this repression, Palestinians and their allies are building on significant global shifts in public opinion and action in support of Palestinian liberation.
Visualizing Palestine in 2022: At a Glance
17 research projects on apartheid, environmental justice, freedom of expression, and Israeli settler violence
20 new visuals published independently and in collaboration with 9 partners, including Adalah Justice Project, Al-Haq, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Research, Growing Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Mind the Gap Consortium, and Premiere Urgence International
111 new events added to the Growth of a Movement Timeline
100,000 followers of VP social media pages
400+ use cases of VP visuals in 46 countries, based on information documented through the VP website’s downloads system
982 individual donors contributing 80% of VP’s revenue, including 17 major donors and 622 active members
10+ community events including:
- Israeli Apartheid and Climate Crisis webinar organized by the Foundation for Middle East Peace with the participation of Jessica Anderson from Visualizing Palestine, Manal Shqair from Stop the Wall, and Gaza-based scholar Khalil Yahia, facilitated by Dr. Sarah Anne Minkin from FMEP
- Data Storytelling for organization and mobilization with 7amleh, featuring Visualizing Palestine team members Jessica Anderson and Nasreen Abd El-Al
- Three Threads of the Movement for Palestinian Liberation podcast with Yara Hawari from Al-Shabaka, Tamara Ben-Halim from Makan, and Aline Batarseh from Visualizing Palestine
- Reclaiming Narratives in a Loveless World, with Alaa Tartir from Al Shabaka, Aimee Shalan from Makan, and Aline Batarseh from Visualizing Palestine, facilitated by author and activist Susan Abulhawa
- Narratives of Belonging, at the BuildPalestine Summit with author and activist Nora Lester-Murad, Aline Batarseh from Visualizing Palestine, and Besan Abu Joudeh from Build Palestine
4 member events including a virtual member briefing and 3 in-person events in New York, Virginia, and Amman
7 volunteers contributed to the translation of VP visuals to various languages, including German, French, and Spanish
3 advocacy campaigns supported:
Visualizing Palestine’s Narrative Impact in 2022
As an organization that is part of the movement for Palestinian liberation, Visualizing Palestine made an impact in 2022 with narrative intervention that contextualized significant events and brought visibility to important data, stories, and campaigns.
In 2022, consensus continued to grow among international human rights organizations that Israel’s system of oppression over the Palestinian people constitutes apartheid. This ongoing shift in mainstream understanding of the Palestinian struggle is the shared work of many groups, with Visualizing Palestine contributing key visual resources.
In February 2022, Amnesty International released a report on Israeli apartheid, citing VP in one of its visuals. In April, UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk described Israeli apartheid in a report endorsed by other UN human rights experts. In November, a coalition report by Palestinian rights groups emphasized and clarified the relationship between Israel’s structure as a settler colonial project and the manifestation of an apartheid regime, linking to VP’s Divide and Dominate visual.
Governments and corporations, including the Israeli government, are increasingly using “greenwashing” narratives to promote an environmentally friendly image while covering up harmful practices. With this in mind, Visualizing Palestine worked throughout the year to highlight the intersection of environmental justice and Palestinian rights.
In January, we launched an environmental justice series with a webinar featuring researchers Asmaa Abu Mezied and Zena Agha and designer Daleen Saah, which was covered by Palestine Chronicle. Two hundred and forty people registered for the event and 131 attended live.
Environmental groups such as the Sunrise Movement (U.S.) and Extinction Rebellion (UK) shared the visuals. The green colonialism visual was presented to officials at Sierra Club as part of a coalition campaign that prompted the prominent U.S. environmental organization to cancel several planned trips to Israel. Although Sierra Club later reinstated the trips, the campaign planted important seeds in holding Sierra Club and others accountable for greenwashing Israeli apartheid.
In May, we collaborated with Growing Palestine on a visual introducing the concept of food sovereignty through the lens of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian food production, accompanied by an article published by Mondoweiss.
Friends of the Earth Europe used it in their campaign for a ban on the trade of settlement goods in the EU. GRAIN tweeted the visual, and it was re-tweeted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Michael Fakhri, A Growing Culture and others.
In November, we marked the birthday of Egyptian human rights activist and political prisoner Alaa’ Abd El-Fattah with an update to our hunger strikes visual. Alaa was on a hunger strike for freedom during the COP27 UN Climate Conference in Egypt, drawing attention to the inseparability of human rights and the climate crisis.
During COP27, we also co-hosted a webinar in partnership with Stop the Wall that featured climate justice organizers from Palestine and across five continents. The webinar was co-sponsored by 14 organizations and was streamed in English, Arabic, and Spanish.
Organizers with Fridays For Future, the youth-led climate justice group that was initiated by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, attended the webinar and later used the Team That Could Have Been visual to highlight Israeli violations against Palestinian footballers and the Palestinian call for BDS during the World Cup.
In December, we concluded the series on environmental justice with a visual inspired by the global grassroots climate justice call for “No War No Warming,” centering anti-militarism in climate action. This topic resonates deeply with Palestinians living at the heart of the close reciprocal relationship between U.S. and Israeli militarism.
Freedom of Expression
From raids on Palestinian rights organizations to a ban on Nakba Day protests to firings of journalists covering Israeli apartheid to news that an anti-BDS law may reach the U.S. Supreme Court, 2022 showcased why freedom of expression was an urgent and timely topic for VP in 2022.
We partnered with Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and Mind the Gap Consortium to create The Pegasus Effect, a visual that shows how this notorious Israeli spyware, used to target journalists, human rights defenders, and politicians around the world, was developed in the context of Israel’s system of apartheid over Palestinians.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) used the Pegasus Effect visual in an informational brochure calling for a ban on the trade of spyware, which is available in English, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, and Swahili. It was also shared by partners and human rights and advocacy organizations such as DAWN and Fight for the Future.
Settlements and Settler Violence
To bring attention to the staggering rise in Israeli settler violence in 2022, we produced a visual that highlighted a 170% increase in settler violence from 2017 to 2022 in the West Bank, in partnership with Premiere Urgence International. This was our most widely shared visual of 2022, reaching as far as a share by former Chief Justice of Kenya Dr. Willy Mutunga.
We also partnered with Al-Haq and Jewish Voice for Peace for a visual on Psagot Winery as a case study in the Israeli settlement enterprise. Psagot Winery, located in an illegal Israeli settlement, is connected to the Falic Family (U.S. billionaires) and their company Duty Free Americas, which is the target of a boycott campaign. It shows how international charitable funding streams, trade policy, and political contributions play a role in sustaining illegal Israeli settlements.
Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement continued to provide a vital framework for people of conscience — including students, faculty, unionized labor, cultural workers, and athletes — to be in solidarity with Palestinians in 2022.
Visualizing Palestine contributed a new resource on academic boycott, highlighting the role Israeli academic institutions play in upholding the apartheid regime.
We also continued our efforts to track significant events in BDS organizing through the Growth of a Movement timeline, adding 111 new events covering 2021 and 2022. Some of the highlights of BDS organizing in 2022 included Ben & Jerry’s ending operations in Israel; Puma agreeing to meet with Palestinian rights activists amidst a global boycott campaign; the Argentinian football team canceling a match with an Israeli team; the Middle East Studies Association endorsing BDS; the Harvard Crimson editorial board endorsing BDS; Grammy award nominated band Big Thief canceling concerts in Israel; over 890 musicians and artists pledging to decline invitations to perform in Israel or at Israeli-funded events and venues; the prestigious Sydney Festival suspending foreign government funding due to BDS action; and Australia’s Future Fund banning investment in Israel’s Elbit Systems. View these and more BDS highlights going back to 2005 on the timeline.
From our Community
Visualizing Palestine prides itself in providing free, accurate, accessible, research-based resources so that everyone can understand the root causes of injustice in Palestine. This past year, 421 people from 46 countries shared information with us through our downloads system about how they use VP visuals for education, advocacy, and activism. Here are some examples of what they shared with us:
“I have been in awe of the work Visualizing Palestine does, especially since the May 2021 protests and have been constantly coming back here to get more clarity in order to convince the people around me about increasing India-Israel ties as well.” –Student, India
“It’s important to make people aware of how the climate crisis and colonialism intersect. In improving our understanding hereof, we can find better means to battle and dismantle it.” –Student, Italy
“Visualizing Palestine has amazing resources that help to drive home the reality of Israeli apartheid while covering a range of facts and statistics about Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.” –Journalist, United States
“[VP visuals] are so amazing, informative, and skillfully done. As a Palestinian, they make me so proud of all the critical work being done to bring our cause to the forefront by showcasing meticulous data and stories about the violence we experience as a people. They’re masterful pieces of visual narrative. Thank you so much for all the work you do!” –Researcher, United States
“Handout at our rallies for Palestinian solidarity, to educate the public on the history of Palestine, colonization, occupation, apartheid policies, climate injustice and help them understand the importance of demanding our government take action as they have with Ukraine and Iran.” –Activist, New Zealand
“I’m doing a Bible Study on Israeli Apartheid and moving my congregation to become an Apartheid Free Church.” –Church Leader, United States
Download VP visuals for 2023 actions.
We welcomed Rasha Sansur as the first-ever outreach specialist, and she was instrumental in launching VP’s outreach program. Rasha is increasing VP’s online and offline audience engagement and reach, building partnerships, and strengthening our outreach network.
We also welcomed two research interns this year: Sarah Al-Yahya joined VP’s team in the summer and Alia Ragab joined our team in the fall. Both interns proactively supported our in-depth research for the production of visual resources
Over the past year, we worked with an external consultant to develop a three-year strategic plan. The six core VP team members as well as external stakeholders were involved in informing our 2023–2025 strategy.
Strategic priorities we’ve identified include:
Continue to contribute to the creation of narrative shifts that center the experiences of Palestinians and promote Palestinian liberation
Collaborations and Partnerships
Improve collaboration with strategic partners and expand relationships with cross-movement partners
Strengthen VP as an institution through activating volunteers and an accountable governance, increasing compensation and benefits for team members, and investing in engaging and expanding VP’s 600+ strong membership community
Expand and strengthen our online and offline presence and engagement, including a soft rebrand
Here’s some of what you can look forward to from VP in 2023:
- New resources on freedom of expression, exploring the myriad tactics and actors involved in silencing speech on Palestine.
- Strategic partnerships with organizations in the Palestinian rights movement and cross-movement partners.
- Expansion of our outreach program, including simplified resources and increased social media presence and outreach in English and Arabic.
- Website redesign to create a more impactful and effective hub for VP resources.
- Recruitment of a donor and member engagement officer.
- Book collection of VP’s visuals in partnership with Haymarket Books.
- 80% of VP’s revenue came from individual donors
- 982 individuals contributed, including 17 major donors (Member Matchers)
- 51% of VP’s revenue came from recurring contributions by VP Members
- 21% of VP’s revenue came from Member Matchers
- 8% of VP’s revenue came from one-time donations
- 622 people were active as VP Members as of Dec 2022
- Joint fundraising campaign with Al-Shabaka and Makan raised $63,203 (shared equally between the three organizations)
The revenue and expense snapshots below cover the period of December 1, 2021 — November 2022 (12 months). These figures are not yet audited. VP’s accounts are audited in March of each year.
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