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Something encouraging in the wake of Gaza's conflict: Some refuse to be enemies

I cannot be enemy of myself: One photo from the #jewsandarabsrefusetobeenemies campaign at
I cannot be enemy of myself: One photo from the #jewsandarabsrefusetobeenemies campaign at

Earlier this month, Ynet News reported that, “Some 300 people protested in Haifa [...] in a demonstration titled “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” in the midst of many others who screamed out their respective and patriotic hate. Despite the power of those screams, as of July 21 the slogan mentioned above has become “an international social media campaign” that speaks out against the slaughter that is occurring on both sides. The campaign consists of people taking selfies, pictures with lovers, friends, families and acquaintances while holding messages demanding that the violence stop.

The campaign was initiated by two Hunter College students, Abraham Gutman, aged 23 and Dania Darwish, aged 21 after a large scale violent attack was made over Gaza. The #JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies campaign still has new pictures and messages trickling in.

This is important news and encouraging. It’s taken for granted, perhaps. The news is not as immediate as for those an ocean away from us in Gaza. It can be easy to overlook how deep this conflict runs for the people of Israel and Palestine. Americans can forget the terror and bloodshed of the renewed combat and not fully understand that this war is something most Israelis and Palestinians begin preparing for from birth.

But then again, it could be that we care too much. All of this news of such terrible and prolonged violence is hard to take for many onlookers. For those outside the conflict, the death and hatred can be difficult to watch and understand. What can we do? Is there anything we can do?

What this campaign shows is that the conflict is not solely controlled by those who can't see a resolution to the war. It’s not just the holders of mainstream media, or the loud and militant initiates of their respective causes shouting over the net and causing further ripples of this violence that are received. The net is still somewhat open and the opportunities exist to spread messages of all kinds and sometimes, encouraging messages make it through and they ring just as powerfully, despite their simplicity. They tug at our hopeful hearts, give hope that hatred does not need to reign king, and inspire by example.