Gaza in Context aims to challenge narratives

A group of academics, artists, and activists aim to challenge prevalent narratives around the Palestine-Israel conflict through a project called Gaza in Context. The project consists of a short film, teaching guide, bibliography, and a compendium of articles from the online magazine Jadaliyya.

Gaza in Context is a project of the Arab Studies Institute, an organization that spreads information about the Arab world. The project is part of a larger effort by the Forum on Arab and Muslim Affairs called the Palestine Project.

The idea for Gaza in Context arose in 2014 when Israel launched a military offensive, known as Operation Protective Edge on the Gaza Strip. Over 2,200 Palestinians were killed during the operation, including 551 children.

“The project has been a labor of love for the past two years,” Palestinian-American organizer Tareq Radi said.

According to Radi, the summer of 2014 was difficult for members of the Gaza in Context team, who spent their summer watching the scenes of Operation Protective Edge unfold on the news. That is when human rights attorney Noura Erakat had the idea to start a project to challenge the way that Israel’s actions were presented in mainstream media.

“The course of the media cycle made evident the need for an assertive framework to explain Israel’s systematic wars. Specifically, to counter its defensive claims and situate its aggression within a broader settler-colonial project in Palestine,” the website states.

At the centerpiece of the project is a 20 minute film narrated by Erakat that discusses the history of Israel’s policies towards the Gaza Strip, and Palestine in general. According to, the film was originally longer, but the team believed that a shorter film could be used more effectively as an educational tool.

The film has received praise from educators and activists who commend its ability to concisely explain the situation in Gaza.

“Gaza in Context is a fantastic educational instrument, conveying in 20 minutes what it would take most people a lifetime to learn. It gives an accurate and visually brilliant portrayal of the tragedy that has befallen not only Gaza, but the entire Palestinian people,” Professor Emeritus of International Law Dr. Richard Falk said.

The film is accompanied by a script, complete with footnotes and a bibliography. Four teaching guides are also available, each one corresponding with one part of the film. The guides contain lesson objectives, suggested reading lists, discussion questions, and more.

Another component of Gaza in Context is a bibliography that consists of book chapters, articles, videos, and other resources. While there are already over 100 entries in the bibliography, Radi said that the project is not yet finished.

“The cool thing about the project is that it’s still a work in progress. While the film is done and the teaching guide is done, there is a bibliography on the webpage where we’re trying to constantly add more material for people to keep it up to date,” Radi said.

Content can be submitted to Gaza in Context through its website.

The final component of the project is called JadMag, and consists of articles from Jadaliyya magazine. JadMag is edited by Noura Erakat and Tareq Radi.

Yasmeen Abdellatif

Yasmeen Abdellatif is a Palestinian-American student at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. She is an English major and minors in Writing, Middle Eastern Studies, and Spanish.

Leave a Reply