Deconstructing the Israeli Apartheid Week Poster 2017

Translation / Interpretation / Caption Text

Curator's note: The above poster is a remix by David Guy of an original poster by Leila Abdelrazaq which may be viewed here 



Deconstructing the Israeli Apartheid Week poster 2017

By David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI



If you have recently visited a university, college or in not a few cases a church you have probably seen the latest Israeli Apartheid Week poster. You will find quite a change of public approach from the IAW Israel Haters. Yet as far as I am aware no one has analyzed it in-depth.

The normal IAW approach is to show an unarmed, kheffiya-draped child or helpless old man or woman in traditional garb victimised, seemingly for no clear reason, by an Israeli tank or helicopter. The issue was never the libelous claim of apartheid. Lebanon, whose limitations on Palestinians comes far closer to the South African version of apartheid is ignored. The issue is presented as defeating a bully.

No matter how much the internal Palestinian message, glorifying knife and car attacks, suicide and regular bombers and every kind of violence labeled as resistance, is spread through a controlled media, the mosques and the schools it didn’t appear in IAW graphics. Not until now.

Just about every graphical representation of  Palestinians is present in the posters with no distinction. From top-right they fight the Zionists from the trenches with rifles; demonstrate with banners in 1948; leave in the ‘Nakba’; join the masked militias ( a more neutral term than engage in terrorism); dance dabka† perhaps even with a Jewish collaborator (it’s hard to tell because his kippah might simply show baldness); educate the children; write and distribute propaganda (call it debate, if you will); throw rocks; demonstrate with posters and megaphones in the modern day and then finally presumably return to the homes their great-grandparents left in ’48.

The message would seem to be that every act of the Palestinians, over 67 years (or is that 100 years?); active or passive; violent or non violent; can be considered an indivisible part of Palestinian ‘resistance’ to Israeli apartheid.

The map of the entire British Mandate for Palestine (for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people) without Jordan, of course, is rotated 90 degrees. Presumably, this is for graphic effect but it is confusing. It also turns the claim that they want a two state solution on its head.

Check out these close-ups. Click for Hi Res.


Advancing from the Palestine shaped ‘lake’ is a tank and a jet plane. They are so crudely drawn and so out of sync with the rest of the drawings that I can only assume they were added by another, much less talented ‘artist’.

What would Palestinian history be without referencing the technical superiority of the bullying Israelis?

Israel didn’t have tanks or war planes during the War of Independence but the invading, largely British armed Arab armies did. Those combined armies, with advanced weaponry, who made war against Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 are missing from this circle of Palestinian life. Was this lack of space or cognitive dissonance?

There is an alternative version that I have only found on Twitter. The tanks have been replaced with monsters. I’m not exactly clear what the document the right-hand monster is carry is supposed to represent — eviction notice, court documents or the legal instruments for Israel’s legality? It doesn’t really matter. Machine or shadowy monster Israelis are not human in IAW mythology.

For several years Five Minutes for Israel has produced an alternative version of the Apartheid Week poster. This year is no exception. Please feel free to paste it next to the original wherever you find it or in any other media that might be appropriate. Share freely.

The victim of the Israeli bully morphs into the victim of Palestinian media manipulation in the first 5MFI alternative poster

Where’s Wally?
Click for Hi-Res

100 years of settler-colonialism?
100 years of popular struggle for justice?

Have the Israel Haters been drinking the Kool Aid? ‡ What happened one hundred years ago? 2017 is not the centenary of any Palestine event.

In 1917 the First World War was still raging. Muslim but not Arab, Ottoman Turkey ruled as they had for the last 432 years.

Is IAW finally willing to admit to the Muslim colonisation of Eretz Israel? If the Ottoman Turks were the settler colonists why did the Arabs wait almost 500 years until almost the very end of their reign for their struggle for justice?

The nasty answer is that they weren’t there. Most of them only began to arrive from other places towards the end of the Ottoman reign. By far the greatest number came during the British period.

The British hadn’t arrived yet, didn’t settle and while they would have loved to make a colony out of the region the world only saw them as caretakers until the Jews formed their state.

I suppose we are supposed to assume the evil Jews were the settler colonists. 1917 has no particular relevance to them either.

Successive waves of Jewish settlement are an important aspect of the history of Jewish life in Israel. Yet no such wave either started or ended in 1917. Neither the Second Aliyah (1904–1914) nor the Third Aliyah (1919–1923) fit. Independence was only achieved in 1948, 31 years later.

So was the hundred years of struggle for justice against settler colonists just a figment of someone’s imagination? Or was it IAW finally admitting their struggle for justice is just an euphemism for ethnic cleansing of the Jews?

† Dabke is an Arab folk dance native to the Levant countries. It is performed in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Hatay, Northern Saudi Arabia and Palestine.
‡ Just trivia. A 2012 agreement between Kraft Foods and Israel’s SodaStream made Kool-Aid’s various flavors available for consumer purchases and use with SodaStream’s home soda maker machine.