Peace Among Enemies

Facebook Sparks Campaign for Peace Between Israel and Iran

03.21.12_Page_09_Image_0001The surmounting tension between Iran’s nuclear program and Israel’s threats of military intervention is driving a deeper rift in other states’ foreign policy agendas, yet it is also driving internal cooperation between citizens of the two conflicting states.

The deepening rift between Israel and Iran is expanding as nuclear tensions become more intense. Other countries’ loyalties are stressed as Israel recently announced that it would pursue military actions against Iran if necessary.

Last Tuesday, British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama urged Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that military action could unveil a variety of consequences.

The United States and Britain both voiced their discouragement early last week, although the United States regards Israel as a strong ally. Britain also cited that military action against Iran would not be helpful at the given time. Britain ambassador, Peter Westmacott told reporters, “We do not regard that as the right way forward in the months to come.”

“The Iranian situation is vital, in terms of trying to demonstrate to the world, and in particular to the Iranians, our continued road of sanctions, the pressure that’s got further to run, and that we’re going to push that as hard as we can,” Cameron told reporters during his most recent trip to the United States. He also went on to discuss that Britain would not support Israel if they pursued military action.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, Professor of Political Science and Associate Vice President for Global Initiatives commented on the rising frustrations between Iran and Israel. “The way forward is not to conduct policy by aggression or subversive acts whether carried out by states or non-state actors but to engage in serious diplomacy that holds states accountable for their actions. A stable peace results from the security of all, not the dominance of one state over the others.”

There is a new online movement signaling messages of love from Israelis and Iranians. Nicholas Kristof of New York Times, tweeted early Monday morning, “Israel- Iran people-to-people initiative with a message: ‘I love you!’ Can love trump bombs and nukes?”

Political leaders are the direct party with media outlets. Iran spites Israel. Israel resents Iran. The website Global Voices discussed a new Facebook campaign from Israeli native, Ronny Mehina. His message to Iran: “We will never bomb your country. We love you.”

This Facebook campaign is pushing to open the lines of communication between Iranians and Israelis by uploading photos of themselves with Mehina’s logo: “Iranians We Love You” or “Israelis We Love You.”

The media manipulation between the two states is exemplified in a message from an Iranian woman featured on Mehina’s timeline: “We hate war and slaughter, we all are the parts of one body and it hurts when you see a human suffering since she or he is a part of your soul. I have been always curious about you guys if you hate us, because I have been sure that the actual face of Iranians would not be introduced to you guys.”

The campaign is doing more than attracting Israeli media. Mehina has 833 Facebook subscribers and over 3,500 friends. Floods of photos and words of love and hope dominate his timeline and my newsfeed.

The passionate messages and colorful images from the campaign offer signs of hope, love and a mutual understanding of wants. The campaign’s desire for peace should supersede politics, but governments are fueling animosity between the two states.

“I feel as if the hard power is all talk, but time will tell,” Rezwan Ahmed, a freshman political science major commented. With political forces and citizens vying for attention, only time will tell where the direction of these two states will go.

PHOTO COURTESY of foreignpolicy.com