In mid-July 2016, we, a group of scholars, activists, and artists from the United States, Belgium, and Palestine, released a pedagogical project entitled Gaza in Context. The project aims to upend an ahistorical narrative that has cast the Gaza Strip as a national security issue. By emphasizing the role of Hamas and diminishing the question of Palestine, Israel has collapsed conditions in Gaza with asymmetric conflicts, or what has come to be known as the “global war on terror,” thus eliding the consequential distinctions between Palestinians and other non-state actors. This pedagogical project is an attempt to re-frame the issue in order to place greater emphasis on the broader question of Palestine and to explain Israel’s policy towards the Gaza Strip in a settler-colonial framework.
A 20-minute multi-media film that combines lecture, animation, typography, and footage from Palestine is the centerpiece of this project. The short film is also available in four, five-minute parts and each part corresponds to a teaching guide for instructional purposes. Other components of the project include abibliography featuring 110 entries that include books, journal articles, book chapters, essays, films, lectures, and videos as well as a compendium of Jadaliyya articles featured in what we call a JadMag. All of these elements are housed on the project’s own website, which is part of a larger research project on Palestine headed by the Forum on Arab and Muslim Affairs at the Arab Studies Institute.
The project received warm endorsements from academic, advocate, and activist luminaries, Sara Roy, Raja Shehadeh, Richard Falk, Nadia Hijab, Diana Buttu, as well as Robin D.G. Kelley, who commented:
Gaza in Context should be required viewing for everyone, including those familiar with the situation in Palestine. Powerful, informative, and persuasive, Noura Erakat delivers a fusillade of facts with concision and passion, obliterating in twenty minutes some three decades of media misinformation about Israel’s occupation of Palestine. An effective teaching tool, irrespective of one’s political position.
The project received broad international coverage including the following pieces: