In the summer of 2010, a small group of activists from across North America released The Veritas Handbook: A Guide to Understanding the Struggle for Palestinian Human Rights. The 347-page document combined a “crash course” on key political and humanitarian issues with an extensive survey of resources for emerging activists and advocacy veterans alike. The Electronic Intifada reviewed the Veritas Handbook shortly after its release.
The handbook was well-received in the activist community, and caused a stir in anti-Palestinian circles as well: “I just came across a site that has me very concerned,” wrote Berkeley-based blogger Rabbi Menachem Creditor in a post titled “Concerned About Veritas”.
“The Veritas Handbook… is VERY well done [emphasis in original]”, he writes. “This might be just another grassroots tool for delegitimizing Israel… But it’s also a very compelling presentation, well-designed, and viral. Are similar tools being made available which defend Zionism as a noble aspirational vision?”
Great Taste, Less Filling
According to a press release, some activists were intimidated by the extreme length of the handbook, prompting the authors to begin work on “something much shorter” and more accessible. Partially drawing on content found in the handbook, the authors created a set of 15 impressively-designed booklets that can be utilized both as outreach tools, and for internal education within activist groups.
Each booklet comprises a total of 4 pages, designed for dual-sided printing on a single 8.5 x 11” sheet. This is quite convenient for activists in North America, where 8.5 x 11” is a well-established standard. Activists elsewhere, using A4 and other sizes, may find it slightly less so. One other feature which would have been useful would be a designated area for local activist groups to provide their own contact information. These issues notwithstanding, the booklets do pack a serious visual punch.
As for the content, the Veritas Papers feature these descriptive titles:
- Paper 1: Occupation from Scratch
- Paper 2: Myth vs. Reality
- Paper 3: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
- Paper 4: Israel’s “Right to Exist”
- Paper 5: The West Bank & Settlements
- Paper 6: Apartheid
- Paper 7: Breaking Gaza
- Paper 8: International Law
- Paper 9: Resistance
- Paper 10: A Real Partner for Peace?
- Paper 11A: Canada’s Role in Occupation
- Paper 11B: America: Israel’s Biggest Ally
- Paper 12: Boycotting Israel
- Addendum 1: Companies to Boycott: Be a Responsible Buyer
- Addendum 2: Famous People and Things who Support Palestine
In what may prove to be a very smart move, the authors opted to provide comprehensive citations for each booklet on their website, rather than attempting to squeeze them onto the actual documents. Usability clearly remains a priority, as the authors have also posted an online survey to elicit feedback on the effectiveness, content, and design of the booklets.
In the spirit of the “viral” promotion alluded to by Rabbi Creditor, the authors marked the release of the Veritas Papers by simultaneously posting this promotional video, made with the popular web application Xtranormal: