At the height of the escalation in fighting between Israel and the Gaza Strip, a campaign for Jewish-Arab coexistence is gaining momentum on an important field of battle: Facebook and Twitter.
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The campaign, Jews and Arabs Refuse to Be Enemies, was initiated by Abraham Gutman, an Israeli student living in New York, and his Syrian friend Dania Darwish, according to media reports. Using the hashtag #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies, people have posted images on Twitter and Facebook of Jews and Arabs together, holding pro-peace signs or engaging in acts of goodwill.
One couple’s photo has become the face of the campaign: a selfie of half-Lebanese Sulome Anderson kissing her Orthdox Jewish boyfriend, which she posted to Twitter with the caption, “He calls me neshama, I call him habibi. Love doesn't speak the language of occupation #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies”
In an article for NYMag.com, Anderson recounts having arguments - and even “flat-out fights” with her boyfriend over the Israel-Gaza fighting, as tensions mounted prior to Operation Protective Edge. Then, “[a]s the region exploded into war, we started to come closer together in our opinions given the fact that we both share critical values: respect and concern for human life.”
“I’m not saying we reach a consensus on everything now”, she writes later. “But we do agree on something: This isn’t just about politics. This is about people.”