May 17-19, 2022

Palestine Digital Activism Forum 2022
Digital Solidarity for Justice

Palestine Digital Activism Forum (PDAF) 2022 Theme

In the age of the internet and technological development, digital technologies have become even more influential on society and social relations. On one hand, these tools can bring us closer together and on the other, further isolate us at the same time. Despite their limitations, the connections enabled by the Internet have made empathy and unity of opinion more achievable for individuals and communities with shared experiences and mutual causes than ever before.

Despite the notion that the Internet has created communities more centered around the self and that prioritize the concerns of the individual over those of the collective, and despite the uncertainty surrounding the true value or effectiveness of likes, comments, shares, retweets and/or calls to sign digital petitions or other digital actions, one cannot deny that these tools have created a sense of closeness to others, reduced isolation in the digital space, and increased mutual support between groups and individuals in ways that serve their causes.

During the past two years, the pandemic, quarantine, movement bans and restrictions on travel, generated a sense of loneliness among many societies around the world, especially those most marginalized. However, the digital world offered community and company, which contributed to reducing the feeling of isolation. Furthermore, the Internet and social networks were utilised in the past decade and in the last two years in particular, to organize political and human rights protests across time and space in light of increasing restrictions on movement. This has fostered a deeper sense of community at a local, national and global level, as well as a feeling of closeness and belonging to the group which has helped bring us closer to the collective concerns of our communities.

In Palestine, in 2021 in particular, the digital space witnessed a wide global digital solidarity movement that started with the popular uprising in April. The movement amplified in response to the escalation of Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem in an attempt to forcibly displace them from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan and other Jerusalemite neighborhoods, and expanded to the Gaza Strip in an aggression that lasted for about two weeks. This state of digital solidarity has continued throughout the year.

Digital solidarity took numerous forms including online petitions, Twitter storms, online gatherings, online organizing and digital mobilizations to amplify Palestinian voices and proritize them in discussing the situation on the ground. This included both re-posting content that documents human rights violations and creating new digital human rights awareness content that highlights human rights issues in Palestine at both the local and regional levels. These efforts re-centered the Palestinian cause at a global level, and redefined the approach of Palestinian news and news stories in a new and unprecedented way.

This solidarity and digital activism extended with the activity of Palestinian human rights activists and defenders on the ground, who took to the streets demanding justice for the political activist Nizar Banat, who was killed by the Palestinian security services, and continued during the attack on Palestinian human rights organizations and human rights defenders, who were subjected to Israeli surveillance technlogies.

Although we celebrate digital solidarity and sense its importance in recentering our cause, we are well aware of all that permeates the unity we witnessed as Palestinians in the last year. Throughout this year, we witnessed digital injustice, digital oppression and blatant digital bias at times, for certain groups at the expense of others. This included censorship by algorithms and the bias of some social media companies favoring the narrative of powerful authorities and governments over the narrative of indigenous populations. In addition, we are mindful of the diverse forms of digital repression and methods used by authorities to confuse solidarity activists around the world, as well as the increased use and harnessing of surveillance techniques to harass human rights activists in the global south in general, and in Palestine in particular. All of this has prompted us as 7amleh – the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media to adopt the theme of Digital Solidarity for Justice for the sixth edition of our Palestine Digital Activism Forum, to be held in May 2022.

​​We will convene for the sixth year in a row at the Palestine Digital Activism Forum 2022, that brings together advocates of the Palestinian cause, activists, human rights defenders, journalists, civil society workers, social media companies and governments, to study, analyze and discuss the different aspects of digital solidarity and digital justice in different contexts. The forum aims to prioritize Palestinian digital rights in the regional and global contexts, in an effort to bridge organizations, social movements, human rights groups and active individuals in the field, to address the important digital rights policies that impact us, share our experiences, present our expertise, build our capabilities and coordinate work efforts at the local, regional and international levels to protect Palestinian digital rights in order to ultimately reach a safe, fair and free digital space.