Identity Crisis: the Israeli ID System

Visualizing Palestine creates data-driven tools to advance a factual, rights-based narrative of the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Our researchers, designers, technologists, and communications specialists work in partnership with civil society actors to amplify their impact and promote justice and equality.

Launched in 2012, VP is the first portfolio of Visualizing Impact (VI) an independent, non-profit laboratory for innovation at the intersection of data science, technology, and design.

#CancelPinkwashing: Creating Change Conference 2016 Statement

Tarab NYC, January 19, 2016

creating change square image pinkwashing-01

We know that military occupation, ethnic cleansing, racism, and colonialism are incompatible with queer liberation and with fundamental human rights.

We are EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED that the National LGBTQ Task Force has chosen to welcome back the reception hosted by the organization “A Wider Bridge” on “LGBT Life in Israel”. The reversal in cancellation demonstrates a true lack of commitment to opposing military occupation, ethnic cleansing racism, and colonialism–all of which we view as fundamentally incompatible with queer liberation! A Wider Bridge partners with the Israeli Consulate and the right wing Israel advocacy organization Stand With Us to put on pinkwashing events that are boycotted and protested by queer and trans activists across the United States. We understand this reception to be part of a broader Zionist political strategy to “pinkwash” Israel’s complicity in violating Palestinian human rights.

Pinkwashing is an explicit strategy that the state of Israel and Israeli advocacy organizations engage in to try to improve Israel’s image which has been tarnished by its global reputation for ethnic cleansing and apartheid. By shifting the focus to a very narrow definition of LGBT rights (exclusive, of course, of queer Palestinians), these Pinkwashing efforts normalize the occupation of Palestinian land by distracting from the violent, inhumane actions of the Israeli settler state.

We condemn any efforts to discuss “LGBT Life in Israel” that cultivates pinkwashing propaganda and does not center the decolonization of Palestine. After bold advocacy by migrant justice activists and organizations, Creating Change pulled ICE off the program and apologized for offering space to a force of brutal violence in queer and trans lives. Immigration enforcement should not be pinkwashed at Creating Change, and neither should Israeli occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

In seeking accountability from the Creating Change conference and the National LGBTQ Task Force, we demand that:

  1. The Creating Change conference re-cancel the reception, and release a public statement attesting to why the reception hosted by A Wider Bridge should be cancelled (specifically, as a move to counter pinkwashing and Zionist efforts in solidarity with the Palestinian people).
  2. The Creating Change conference commit to opposing future efforts that promote Zionism and pinkwashing of the illegal occupation of Palestine–whether those efforts appear in workshops, caucuses, plenaries, organizational sponsorships, and more.
  3. The National LGBTQ Task Force publicly endorse the Palestinian right of return and the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Opposing racism, colonialism and ethnic cleansing is central to queer and trans liberation.

Just as we cannot make space for ICE to be promoted at Creating Change, we must oppose Creating Change being a platform for Israel advocacy organizations that seek to cover up the brutality of the occupation. We call upon all who are committed to justice and in solidarity with Palestinian people to join us in demanding accountability from the Task Force and a clear message that Creating Change is not a space for pinkwashing.


Tarab NYC
alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society
Aswat – Palestinian Gay Women
Jewish Voice For Peace
National Lawyers Guild
MASGD (Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity)
Gay Liberation Network
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Seattle
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid New York
Queers Against Israeli Apartheid Vancouver
US Campaign To End The Israeli Occupation
Hampton Institute
Black & Pink
Queer Detainee Empowerment Project
Z Collective
Trans Student Educational Resources
Queers Against Israeli Pinkwashing
Students for Justice in Palestine UIUC
Transgender Muslim Support Network
US Palestinian Community Network-Chicago Chapter
Audre Lorde Project
US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.
Black Lives Matter Chicago
Faculty for Justice in Palestine, University of California, Davis
Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine
United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)-Chicago
Jews Say No!
Survivors Organizing for Liberation
The Dream Defenders
Sage Community Health Collective
Survivors Organizing for Liberation
Jewish Voice for Peace Portland
Friends of Sabeel–North America
Hilton Head for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace, Bay Area Chapter
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project
Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego
Showing Up for Racial Justice

Individuals: Dean Spade, Ashton P Woods, Imani Keith Henry, Shelley Ettinger, Andy Thayer, Andrew Miller, Stephanie Co, Bashar Makhay, Jodi Melamed, Corinne Sutter-Brown, Alexis Stern, Jessica Jones, Suzi Pietroluongo, Hannah Mermelstein, Mary Lucchese, Shelley Ettinger, Angela Campion, Ed Feigen, Sara Rubinstein, Cindy Shamban, Charmaine Burrus, Diane Dulin, Korla Masters, Kameahā‘aweokaponia ‘I‘i, Omar Almasri, Hassan Chenti, Hedy Epstein, Rosalind Petchesky, Sydney Levy, victor paes, Ellen Ross, Jean Riesman, Zillah Eisenstein, Lynn Grassmeyer, Erika Lynn Kreeger, Danielle Bullock, Leisa Meyer, Maxine Fookson, Zoe Grieder, anna berg, Carl Schieren, Naomi Allen, Neal Feldman, Georgiaq Guida, Pauline Park, Steve Quester, Tami Gold, Farah Erzouki, Emma Cunningham, Dr. F Taylor, Justin Adkins, John Barker, Newland F Smith, Seth Morrison, N. B., Aurelia Holliman, Margo Lee Sherman, Aaron Ellis, Amanda Bloom, Jacqueline Langeveld, Muhammad AR, Merry Maisel, Kay Kroeger,Steven Botticelli, Karma Chavez, Simon Patane, Dara Silverman, Martin Kemp, Laura Tanenbaum,Tali Ruskin

Continue reading

Fact Check: MSNBC’s Palestinian loss of land map

, Mondoweiss, October 22, 2015

(Screenshot: MSNBC)(Screenshot: MSNBC)

Last week, MSNBC aired a map (above) showing the loss of Palestinian land to Zionist settlers and then to Israel from 1946 to the present. Following criticism from Israelis and their supporters, MSNBC apologized and stated that the map was incorrect. But was it? The following is a fact check of MSNBC’s map and the criticisms of it.

Does the map accurately show the loss of Palestinian land since 1946?

Yes. The map accurately depicts the land that has been forcibly taken from Palestinians since 1946, two years before Israel was established and the accompanying expulsion of between 750,000 and a million Palestinians to make way for a Jewish state.

During and immediately following the state’s creation in 1948, Israel expropriated approximately 4,244,776 acres of Palestinian land. In the process, more than 400 Palestinian cities and towns were systematically destroyed by Israeli forces or repopulated with Jews. Most Palestinian population centers, including homes, businesses, houses of worship, and vibrant urban centers, were demolished to prevent the return of their owners, now refugees outside of Israel’s pre-1967 borders or internally displaced within them. (See here for interactive map of Palestinian population centers destroyed during Israel’s creation.)

Israel’s systematic dispossession of Palestinians is ongoing today, both in the occupied territories and inside Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 borders, where Palestinian citizens of the state and those living under occupation continue to be pushed out of their homes and off their lands – including entire towns – to make way for Jewish citizens and settlers. Today, there are approximately 650,000 Jewish settlers living illegally on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Israel’s settlement enterprise covers approximately 42% of the West Bank.

Did the map specify that Palestine was an independent state prior to 1948?

No. Critics have focused on the fact that Palestine was not a sovereign and independent state prior to 1948, however the map did not claim that it was. The map purported to show “Palestinian Loss of Land 1946-present,” and it did precisely that, accurately. While it was not a recognized independent state under British rule in 1946, Palestine as a political entity existed prior to the formation of the state of Israel in 1948, going back to ancient times when it was a province of the Roman empire until more recently when it was British Mandatory Palestine, immediately preceding Israel’s creation.​​

Were there real factual errors in the map?

Yes. There were two factual errors in the map:

  • ​It showed the Syrian Golan Heights, which have been under Israeli military occupation since the 1967 War, as part of Israel, although the international community, including the United States, does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area.
  • The map also shows “Israel” existing in 1946. While British Mandatory Palestine did exist in 1946, there was no political entity called “Israel” until 1948.

Continue reading

Young Palestinian-American Graphic Novelist Speaks at Wisconsin Book Festival

Madison365 staff, Oct 30, 2015

Palestinian American author Leila Abdelrazaq wrote the graphic novel Baddawi, which describes her father’s experience in a refugee camp during the Lebanese civil war.

Leila Abdelrazaq, a Palestinian-American writer, cartoonist, and Palestinian rights activist, was a featured speaker Oct. 23 at Central Library for the Wisconsin Book Festival. The Madison Rafah Sister City Project co-hosted the event.

Abdelrazaq recently graduated from DePaul University where she double majored in Theatre Arts and Arabic Studies. She grew up in Chicago, where she was constantly reminded of the pro-Israeli sentiment here in the United States. As Abdelrazaq studied at DePaul University, she joined a chapter of the organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). She also became a member of the National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee. wisconsinbookfestival_0_0

In order to more clearly voice her thoughts on the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Abdelrazaq started a blog where she could illustrate what the situation is like for people who are unaware of the suffering of the Palestinian people and the occupation of Palestinian land, in general.

What was different about this blog was that it consisted of comic strips Abdelrazaq personally designed. As her blog picked up more and more attention, a publisher contacted her and agreed to turn the series of comics into a full-length graphic novel, which she titled Baddawi.

Baddawi is the name of the refugee camp in Lebanon where Abdelrazaq’s father Ahmed and his family fled in order to escape the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The book is the story of her father’s experience living as a child and young adult in that camp. Abdelrazaq uses graphic imagery to describe her father’s experience from the expulsion of her grandparents from Palestine in 1948 (following a massacre by Jewish militias), through their flight to Lebanon where they settled and where her father grew up. The book tells what it felt like to be a Palestinian boy in the midst of economic deprivation, anti-Palestinian discrimination in Lebanon, and frequent episodes of Israeli brutality. 611DTCgMKnL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Abdelrazaq pointed out that in her book she never depicts the faces of the Israeli soldiers. Instead, she uses frightening silhouettes as a way to show that she is only the Palestinian perspective.

Abdelrazaq noted that fleeing to Lebanon didn’t mean freedom. In Lebanon, Palestinians were still treated poorly, and their history was carried with them wherever they went. Freedom and justice would only come with the liberation of Palestine.

“The Right of Return shouldn’t be a term just used for Israelis,” she said. “The Right of Return could also be applied to the rights Palestinians have to their land.”

Abdelrazaq’s father survived the wars and difficulties of life in Baddawi and was able to move to the United States for college and settle down here.

“Moving to the U.S. wasn’t a happy ending for my father either. He had to leave his family behind,” Abdelrazaq said. “Moving to the U.S. hasn’t brought justice to the Palestinian people. Only the right to live on what is Palestinian land will bring justice.”

Sadly, living in the U.S. is a frightening reminder to Abdelrazaq of Israel’s brutality toward the Palestinians. The U.S. gives billions of dollars in military aid to Israeli every year, as well as stocks of weapons.

Continue reading

Not All Israeli Citizens Are Equal

I am not permitted to live with my wife in the country of my birth

YOUSEF MUNAYYER, New York Times, May 23, 2012


I’m a Palestinian who was born in the Israeli town of Lod, and thus I am an Israeli citizen. My wife is not; she is a Palestinian from Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Despite our towns being just 30 miles apart, we met almost 6,000 miles away in Massachusetts, where we attended neighboring colleges.

A series of walls, checkpoints, settlements and soldiers fill the 30-mile gap between our hometowns, making it more likely for us to have met on the other side of the planet than in our own backyard.

Never is this reality more profound than on our trips home from our current residence outside Washington.

Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport is on the outskirts of Lod (Lydda in Arabic), but because my wife has a Palestinian ID, she cannot fly there; she is relegated to flying to Amman, Jordan. If we plan a trip together — an enjoyable task for most couples — we must prepare for a logistical nightmare that reminds us of our profound inequality before the law at every turn.

Even if we fly together to Amman, we are forced to take different bridges, two hours apart, and endure often humiliating waiting and questioning just to cross into Israel and the West Bank. The laws conspire to separate us.

If we lived in the region, I would have to forgo my residency, since Israeli law prevents my wife from living with me in Israel. This is to prevent what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once referred to as “demographic spillover.” Additional Palestinian babies in Israel are considered “demographic threats” by a state constantly battling to keep a Jewish majority. (Of course, Israelis who marry Americans or any non-Palestinian foreigners are not subjected to this treatment.)

Last week marked Israel’s 64th year of independence; it is also when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” during which many of Palestine’s native inhabitants were turned into refugees.

In 1948, the Israeli brigade commander Yitzhak Rabin helped expel Lydda’s Palestinian population. Some 19,000 of the town’s 20,000 native Palestinian inhabitants were forced out. My grandparents were among the 1,000 to remain.

Continue reading

November 15-17, 2011
Ilan Pappé Program in Madison

Palestine: Past, Present and Future


"The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, 1948-1967"
Tuesday, November 15, 7pm, 2650 Humanities

"Squaring the Circle: the Failure of the Middle East Peace Process"
Wednesday, November 16, 7pm, 2650 Humanities

Open Seminar for Students, Faculty and Public
Thursday, November 17, 12:20pm, 8108 Social Science