Thursday, July 24, 2014

CODED-ish News::Amazing Picture Of Arab-Jewish Couple Kissing Sweeps The Internet

8:03 PM

As tensions escalate between Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East, a pair of star-crossed lovers are determined to prove love is stronger than war.

Journalist Sulome Anderson, who is half Lebanese, kisses her Jewish boyfriend in a photograph posted on Twitter and Facebook spreading the message ‘Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies’. The kiss has been re-tweeted more than 2,000 times.

The modern-day Romeo and Juliet couple has encouraged others to post photos of their own mixed faith families on social media and stand up for peace in the war torn West Bank.


  It was the kiss seen 'round the social media world.

The kiss was part of a New York-based social media campaign called “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” which has inspired hundreds of responses from around the world — even as as tensions between Palestinians and Israelis escalate in the Middle East.

“Because when it comes down to it, we love each other,” Anderson told The News about the kiss. “It’s not about being Jewish or Arab. He makes me laugh and I feel safe when I’m with him. That’s what matters.”

The first few months of Anderson’s relationship was tense, she said. She argued politics often with her boyfriend, Jeremy, whose last name she is withholding.

Jeremy comes from an Orthodox Jewish family and has dual Israeli-American citizenship. Anderson is half-Lebanese and splits her time between New York and Beirut.

Jeremy’s family is supportive of the Israeli government, while Anderson is sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people.

Her journalist father, Terry Anderson, was held captive for seven years by the militant group that would later become Hezbollah, so she’s familiar with the heartbreak that war creates.

As the death toll began to rise on both sides, Anderson said she and her boyfriend stopped fighting as much.

She received backlash online for the kiss, with many critics coming from the pro-Palestinian camp. But she still says she’s “100%” behind the message of peace.

“We still don’t agree about everything,” Anderson said about her boyfriend. “But we’ve found a way to communicate that isn’t angry.”

That was the mission of the Hunter College students behind the campaign. Abraham Gutman, 23, and 21-year-old Dania Darwish acknowledge that lasting peace in the Middle East will take much more than a hashtag. For these students, it’s more about changing the tone of the conversation.
  Dania Darwish and Abraham Gutman started the campaign with this photo in New York's Washington Square Park.
Darwish, a Brooklynite of Syrian descent, and Gutman, an Israeli from Tel Aviv, became close friends on campus, but were disheartened when they noticed their social media feeds becoming increasingly more hateful.
“We’re not asking everyone to agree and sing 'Kumbayah,'” Gutman told The News. “But we do want to have an underlying agreement of mutual respect.”

The pair took a photo of themselves standing in Washington Square Park, started a Facebook group—and were soon flooded with photos from around the world. The page now has more than 5,000 fans.

“We’re not diplomats, we don’t have a solution to this conflict,” Darwish told The News. “But what we can do is create a platform where people can discuss divergent political ideas and not incite hate.”

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