The Hamsa Flag
A flag for envisioning the future of Israel|Palestine, Jewish-Muslim solidarity, Sephardi/Mizrahi cultures. A flag of peace, resistance, and imagination.
Tom Haviv first imagined the Hamsa Flag in 2009 while reading an essay in the New York Times about a proposed one-state solution in Israel|Palestine.
As soon as the thought came to him, the symbol followed: the hamsa. It was a glyphic symbol that naturally bypassed otherwise sharp, even deadly, borders of history, culture, and identity. In its simplicity and depth it felt like it had the power to unify, to create surprising kinships. It was instinctive, intuitive, and absolutely clear.
This was the natural symbol of the merging two peoples: the open palm.
In some craft traditions, a turquoise stone is used as an eye at the center of the palm of the hamsa. In the case of this flag, the turquoise eye has been expanded and abstracted into the all-embracing background, creating an ocean or horizon of activated turquoise behind the open copper palm, its elemental source. The hamsa in this formation is designed to represent a vast, shifting, hybrid community of many tribes (and beyond the very notion of tribe), of many nations (and beyond the very notion of nation), all emerging from a common elemental source.
The Hamsa Flag is not designed as a reaction, or to be further entangled in the dialectic of Jew and non-Jew. It is designed with the hope of challenging and ultimately dismantling the violent binaries that underlie the crisis in Israel|Palestine—and increasingly around the world—and to set the stage for something new. The world to come.
Read Tom Haviv’s book, A Flag of No Nation, on the personal and poetic vision for The Hamsa Flag Project: