Facebook Likes 'Israel Loves Iran'

Citizens from both countries reach for common ground, virtually.

Dare to believe that pictures speak louder than rhetoric, and hope really is alive. (Photo: Israel Loves Iran)

Mar 20, 2012
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

If we do live in a world where love and peace remain revolutionary concepts, then thank and praise the revolutionary peace lovers of Iran and Israel. While leaders of both countries rattle nuclear sabers and accuse foreign agents of picking off atomic scientists and diplomats, the people in the streets, and cyber cafes, have a markedly more hope-filled view of their neighboring nations.

An “Israel Loves Iran” Facebook campaign sprang up out of nowhere, other than the intrinsic human sweet spot where differences are transcended and all humanity is welcomed as extensions of one, perhaps contentious, but mutually dependent family.

“I thought, ‘Why not bypass the generals and see if they [Iranians] really hate me?’ ”

Graphic artists Ronny Edry and his wife, Michal Tamir, started “Israel Loves Iran,” with assists from design students at Pushpin Media preparatory school. The “Love and Peace” community page calls for Israeli residents to proclaim their affection for the Iranian people by posting photos and captions. The “Love and Peace” photo albums collect a diverse community of Israelis showing their faces, showing their loved ones and their children, holding placards with messages typified by: “Iranians: We Will Never Bomb Your Country. We Love You.”

Ronny Edry’s mission statement is subversive in an inspiring sense of the word:

To the Iranian people, To all the fathers, mothers, children, brothers and sisters, For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other, we must hate. I’m not afraid of you I don’t hate you. I don’t even know you. No Iranian ever did me no harm.

I’m not an official representative of my country. I’m a father and a teacher. We love you. We mean you no harm. On the contrary, we want to meet, have some coffee and talk about sports.

Eddy tells Haaretz that his initiative is a bid for direct effect: “I thought, ‘Why not bypass the generals and see if they [Iranians] really hate me?’ ”

So far, “Israel Loves Iran” is taking baby steps toward mission-statement accomplished. A smattering of Iranians has posted their partially obscured faces (these people do, after all, live in Iran) behind posters expressing a common thread of belief, summed up as: “My Israeli Friends. I Don’t Hate You. I Don’t Want War. Love Peace.”

The power of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to influence mass movements was well documented during the tumult of the Arab Spring. “Israel Loves Iran” takes the social media revolution one step further: What if, the initiative asks, we come to an amicable understanding and diffuse the charged atmosphere before the violence in the air sparks and erupts?

Feel free to log on and wish the revolutionary Israelis and Iranians luck. Solidarity is streaming in from around the globe.

Peace and love! Where did they ever come up with that?

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