The art of the anti-annexation protests

Artists are responding to Israel's annexation threat by producing posters in solidarity with Palestine. Here is a collection from protests around the world.
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It has frequently been the case that when a crisis erupts in Palestine, for example when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against Gaza in July 2014, artists around the world respond by producing posters in solidarity with Palestine. These efforts are almost without exception spontaneous affairs and owing to the shortness of time and the lack of pre-existing structures, the participating artists often experiment with, or stumble upon, innovative ideas regarding distribution and promotion. One such effort, Des Affiches Pour Gaza arranged for all the posters submitted (62) to be printed in color in the leftist newspaper L’Humanite, which was founded in 1904 by Jean Juare. This allowed the public to cut them out and paste them up on walls and hoardings in cities all over France thereby increasing visibility considerably.

Another effort that same year was organized by several graphic design professors at Atatürk University in Erzurum, Turkey. Their innovation was to use not public walls but rather public walkways to exhibit the posters that were created in solidarity with Gaza and Palestine (121). All these posters were submitted digitally and this allowed the organizers to share them with galleries, activists and solidarity organizations in other cities in Turkey as well as worldwide.

The most recent manifestation of Palestine’s vibrant global network of artists and solidarity organizations burst onto the scene two weeks ago when the Israeli government appeared on the verge of annexing a vast swath of Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley. This solidarity effort differs from the two outlined above in that all the posters published announce and promote actions – demonstrations, student rallies, march routes, boycotts, etc. Most provide exact times and dates as well as the location of the nearest subway station or public square. Most also state that masks and social distancing will be in force.

Posters in this Special Collection dedicated to Annexation (42 as of today) all condemn Annexation and/or announce civil solidarity actions in places as diverse as South Korea, Nevada, the Basque Autonomous Community and Israel. A number of posters specifically link resistance to the occupation and annexation to the Black Lives Matter movement, revealing the deepening intersectional bonds between Palestinians confronting a hostile military regime and the reality of Black Americans confronting systemic police brutality. Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, has been at the forefront in terms of promoting these anti-Annexation events and its website has become a clearinghouse for information about demonstrations worldwide. 

All these projects came into being and were as successful as they were owing to the magic of social media. It would appear that should Israel actually move to annex any Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley that many more posters will be added to this rapidly growing new sub-genre of Palestine posters.

Click on a poster to scroll through the images.

Dan Walsh
Dan Walsh began collecting Palestine posters while studying Arabic as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco in the mid-1970’s. He has a graduate degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and he is the founder and archivist of the Palestine Poster Project Archives.