Israel Loves Iran — and so can you!

2 Feb

 

Chuck Hagel, nominated for secretary of defense, was treated roughly this week by his former colleagues in the Senate. In part, it was because he appears not to be in complete lockstep with Israel and also because he has shown moderation in his position on Iran.

In the U.S. we hold a compendium of complex and diverse political views. Oddly, we are expected to be monolithic in our support of Israel. In some way, Hagel was treated like a traitor. I’m not sure why a single, blindly supportive position is required on Israel. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because the Israeli lobby is smart, strong and well-funded, and because a large part of the American Christian community regularly muscles Congress on Israel because it wants to protect and maintain that country until it can be converted en masse.

If I’m wrong about that I apologize.

What I’m probably not wrong about is this: Opinion on Israeli policy is more divergent in Israel than in America.

Can you image buses traversing major American cities covered with the message: “Iranians we love you.”

People would probably go to jail for that.

There are, however, such buses in Israel, funded by Israelis who don’t feel hostile to Iran and believe the current talk of war is dangerous bombast.

While the buses are highly visible, the campaign for peace is mainly online. There are thousands of Facebook followers, and related Facebook sites from various people and countries pop up each day in support. It is something of a movement, a movement for peace in the face of impending war.

Its leader, graphic designer Ronny Edri, has told the people of Iran, “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.”

His movement involves individual people creating posters of themselves with variations on the message: Israel loves Iran.

The posters are then placed on the Internet.

After a time, Iranians were creating their own posters saying: We love Israel.

Please hear the story straight from Edri’s mouth in a TEDs talk he gave. At the end of this 15-minute video you can see many of the wonderful posters of peace that people have made. Also, at the top of this page is a Youtube video from Edri.

Coverage of Edri, who served in the Israeli army, and the thousands of resulting posters has been on ABC and CNN, in the New York Daily News and the New Yorker magazine and in many, many international publications.

Consider becoming a part of this movement, or at least learning about it.

It seems people may not hate each other as much as their governments would like them to.

Maybe Chuck Hagel wouldn’t be such a bad secretary of defense after all.

By Lanny Morgnanesi

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