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WATCH: Israelis tell Iranians 'we do not hate you'

The initiative to tell Iranians that Israelis refuse to go to war with them is creative, important and moving – but, like so many other great initiatives here, it is tainted by the fact that we are a society at war, a society whose art cannot be appreciated simply for what it is. 

I wasn’t swept up by the whole “Iranians we love you” campaign that exploded last week – even though I do think it is a great, creative initiative expressing the most basic human urge to resist violence and war.  But I could not help but be moved by this video, posted by the same people who started the campaign:

It has already been covered by the New Yorker and ABC News. Even though only around 1,000 people showed up to rally against war with Iran in Tel Aviv on Saturday night, the Facebook page of the “Israel loves Iran” initiative already has over 40,000 likes. A decent percentage of the population here.

But this heart-warming video, filmed on Rothschild Boulevard in central Tel Aviv, the exact location of the hub of the social justice “tent protests” last summer, is a troubling reminder of the one major issue that remains neglected, among the issues that manage to take Israelis by storm – a big elephant in the room staring into the abyss of the status quo. Sure, there was a short-lived poster campaign about Israelis loving Palestinians that followed the Iranian one on Facebook, but it has not galvanized a critical mass of people behind the demand to end the occupation, that will soon enter its fifth decade of existence.

Would Israelis make a similar video about Palestinians?  Would such an initiative get 40,000 likes? Can Israelis translate their message of non-violence and desire for peace regarding Iran to the streets of Hebron or Jaffa? When you have daily night raids by the army in Palestinian villages, prisoners on hunger strike in danger of death and the state going to bat with the High Court over an illegal outpost that should have been a non-issue in the first place, then what does a pretty face holding a sign really mean anyway?

I was genuinely moved by this video – but then I was nagged by the fact that it is also a reminder of the inability to lead a normal life here. However much I want to just enjoy and appreciate music, art and whatever else, it is hard to not feel everything is shrouded in darkness, and ultimately become cynical. Sure, there are problems and injustices everywhere in the world. But this is where I live, and this is what the government here does in my name.

It is a real tragedy that all creation here ultimately feels tainted, and that it is so easy to grow disillusioned. That is why I personally feel my creativity must be devoted to bringing about a change where one day, I can look at something produced in Israel, and be able to simply enjoy it.


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    1. Steve

      Would Palestinians make similar ‘we want peace’ videos for Israel?
      Or would they vote for Israel-hating Hamas terrorists in their elections?

      Reply to Comment
    2. David

      “Would Israelis make a similar video about Palestinians? Would such an initiative get 40,000 likes? ”
      I bet it would. It certainly would have during Oslo.
      All Palestinians would really need to do to reciprocate is not to do things like hand out sweets to celebrate, when jihadists slice the heads off Jewish babies.

      Reply to Comment
    3. jalal

      Steve, please.
      1st, You don’t ask the Palestinians to do this initiative first. 2nd, even though Palestinians aren’t obliged to go first, they’ve done what you just asked for…many times.
      Even in one of the videos, Sa’eb Erekat apologized to the Israeli people for “disappointing them”, which everyone else (not you, I suppose) would find it ironic.
      Search youtube for “I am your partner, are you mine Palestine” videos for an example

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jack


      Your cynism doesnt benefit anyone, also I doubt those israelis who made the video isnt supporters of the Likud. So a counter question would be when will we see Likud supporters making such videos? Of course we will never see that since Likud are the ones pushing for war.

      Also if there wasnt any occupation there wouldnt be any Hamas, Hezbollah. Hamas was even funded in the beginning by Israel to weaken Fatah.

      Reply to Comment
    5. janna

      Domestic elections are generally decided on domestic issues. Why do people always seem to first assume that any individual’s vote for Hamas was based on a position towards Israel and not on internal Palestinian politics?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Henry Weinstein

      Disagree, dear Mairav. It’s probably easier to get it living in the diaspora, in Europe France, and having Iranian friends in the real world. The majority of Israelis doing this are not telling they refuse to go to war in the next days or months with Iranians, to bomb them, they chant “We Love You! We feel sorry for you! Look how we are wonderful!!”.
      Meanwhile the majority of Iranians doing this say “No to War! No more war on us, no more bombs on us!”. Dig the difference?
      I don’t pretend the “Iranian Threat” issue is not a real concern for the Israelis- it’s a real concern for other countries too. But those who promote by all means a ‘preventive’ war, those who speak like if a “strike”, a military aggression, on Iran’s nuclear sites is moral, rational & “Success Guaranted!” are the Israeli leaders. They speak and act like if they were the masters of the world, like if the president of the USA was their puppet. It’s Hubris beyond any common sense, Israel is a tiny thing, you don’t know what you are doing. And we in Europe, we don’t think it’s the wise way to fight anti-semtism, to open the fire on Iran.
      Moreover I noticed there is a “We Love You Palestinan!” Israeli Show going on the net: better to shut up my big mouth on this, no comment.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Henry Weinstein


      Reply to Comment
    8. Henry Weinstein

      Before being accused to be ‘Pro-Munich 1938’: I support Obama’s position,even if I hate war. I don’t trust warmongers.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Jack


      “I support Obama’s position,even if I hate war. I don’t trust warmongers”

      Thats a contradiction. One cannot be pro-Obama on the mideast and be against warmongers. Obama IS a warmonger.

      Reply to Comment
    10. palestinian

      I believe they love themselves more than anything else,massacring the defenseless Palestinians is “kol hakavod” but attacking an armed country with high tech weapons …oh their homes and lives on stolen Palestinian land will be destroyed infront of their eyes..boom boom

      Reply to Comment
    11. Gili

      Mairav, I wholeheartedly commiserate with your sentiment that even the most wonderful heart-warming creative happenings are “shrouded in darkness” and “tainted” and that it is all too easy to slip into cynicism. Thank you.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jogortha

      Steve: when Israelis make “we love Palestinians videos” and stop electing Arab-hating politicians then you’ll get the video you asked for.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Henry Weinstein

      @ Jack
      If for you there is no difference betweeen Obama and Bush & Cheney, and between Obama and the present Republican candidate, and between Obama and Netanyahu, I wonder why Obama is so hated by warmongers in Israel and the USA.
      There is no contradiction: compare Obama’s speech and Netanyahu’s speech to AIPAC, even if you dislike both of them.

      Reply to Comment
    14. ezequiel kopel

      the sad reality is that all of this is only “virtual”. The israelis dont love iranians and iranians dont love israelis. Israelis and iranians choose Nethanyahu and Ahmadinejad (and not only them). and they are not children . A nice Rothschild bvld human being with a nice english dont represent a lot of isralis, from my point of view. and after all this facebook messages and all the likes and all the good emotions only 1000 thousand joined the rally!!, something is really rotten. ok, it was saturday night and everyone is tired and a war (or maybe a nuclear war) is not a match to this.
      About the iranians i cant say a lot , i never been in that country or know a lot of them.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Jack

      Henry Weinstein,

      Obama and Netanyahu’s goal is the same, war. However one should add that Obama doesnt seek war, but warmongering lobby pushing him to take such stance.
      Draconian sanctions, assassinations inside Iran, bombings at military bases inside Iran, Stuxnet/Cyberwarfare, war threats are enough casus belli delivered by Israel and Obama for Iran.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Bill Pearlman

      You know I think its time to give the Netanyahu and Barak love war thing a rest. Both of them are combat veterans. And Netanyahu lost his brother at Entebbe. I have had occasion to meet a number of men who have been shot at. Not to mention my father and stepfather. Korea and WW2 respectively. I have yet to meet anyone who thinks it was a load of fun and would love to do it again

      Reply to Comment
    17. Jack

      Both Israel and the US rule through the use of force, they know that if they were forced to solve it in a civilized way through dialogue they would loose since the law is not on their side.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Beholder

      >Both Israel and the US rule through the use of force, they know that if they were forced to solve it in a civilized way through dialogue they would loose since the law is not on their side.
      2 questions:
      Who are the authors of the law, and who namely abides by it?

      Reply to Comment