News / USA

Jews and Arabs Campaign for Peace on Facebook, Twitter

Jews and Arabs Campaign for Peace on Facebook, Twitteri
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 29, 2014 8:00 PM
Abraham Gutman, an Israeli Jew, and Dania Darwish, a Syrian-American Muslim, met in a global politics class at Hunter College in New York, and became friends, despite their political differences. As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated in July, they were disturbed by the fury they saw on social media. Carolyn Weaver reports.
Jews, Arabs Refuse Campaign for Peace on Facebook, Twitter
Carolyn Weaver

Abraham Gutman, an Israeli Jew, and Dania Darwish, a Syrian-American Muslim, met in a global politics class at Hunter College in New York, and became friends, despite their political differences. As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated in July, they were disturbed by the fury they saw on social media.
 
"We felt like Facebook is becoming more and more hateful, that every comment is more polarizing, and almost all the comments on my Facebook and Twitter feed were very black and white, and strongly worded," Gutman said.
 
So, early in July, as the conflict in Gaza exploded, he and Darwish started a Facebook and Twitter campaign: Jews & Arabs Refuse to Be Enemies. The idea was simple: post photographs by Jews and Arabs and Muslims who happen to be friends, lovers, spouses - or who just want to send a message of peace.
 
"We wanted to create a space where people had the same experience we had with each other, that you can disagree, but you can have a debate, and try to be part of a solution in a productive way," he said.
 
"The campaign was created really just [to] allow people to see people as people, and not the enemy, and not the 'other side,'" Darwish said.
 
In barely three weeks, the Facebook page has garnered tens of thousands of "likes" and Tweets, with the numbers doubling every few days. There is a photo sent by two girls in Gaza, and by a woman from inside a bomb shelter in Tel Aviv. A group portrait of workers at a bakery in Jaffa, Israel. Like most of those in the photos, they hold hand-written placards saying: Jews & Arabs Refuse to Be Enemies.
 
There are photos posted by both young and long-married Muslim-Jewish couples, gay and straight, and old friends, like an Israeli bride and her best friend, a Lebanese woman. Photos of families whose children are half Jewish and half Arab, and of adults who grew up in such families. One holds a placard asking, "How can I be the enemy of myself?"
 
Journalist Sulome Anderson and her boyfriend Jeremy, a business consultant, sent in a photograph of themselves on vacation, kissing. Jeremy was raised an Orthodox Jew and will never forget the deadly bombing of an Israeli bus he witnessed. Anderson is half-Lebanese, and has spent time in Palestinian refugee camps. They often disagree about Middle East politics, but talk it out.
 
"We obviously come from two very different ends of the spectrum," Jeremy said, "but we realized that we agree that the loss of human life is the key issue here. At the base of it, it's humans committing atrocities against humans, regardless of which side you're talking about."
 
"And they do that because they don't look at each other as humans, they don't think of this Jew or this Arab as a person that one would marry or date, no, they stop becoming people to each other," Anderson said.
 
Anderson's father, former Associated Press correspondent Terry Anderson, spent seven years as the prisoner of a pre-Hezbollah Shia militia in Lebanon.
 
"I grew up with a real understanding of the hatred in the Middle East, and the price it takes on just ordinary people living their lives," Anderson said. "My upbringing made me understand that no matter anything bad that might happen to you, you have to look at the people who hurt you as humans, because that's the only way you'll ever understand what they're doing, the only way you'll ever find peace."
 
Darwish said, "This movement really allows people to confront the deepest feelings they have about the other side. I have a friend who was telling me she saw the page, and had to ask herself, 'Why don't I like this movement, and why is this person my enemy?' This acts as a way for people to confront animosity not with other people, but within themselves."

 

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid