With the war drums between Israel and Iran beating at a fevered pace, an Israeli
couple has launched an online campaign with the hope of reaching out on a
personal level to the people of Iran.
Ronny Edry, 41, said that he and
his partner Michal Tamir, 35, both graduates of Bezalel Academy of Art and
Design, created the poster campaign last Thursday on something of a lark, with
no idea that within days it would take on a life of its own.
“The idea is
very simple – to come and try to reach out to the other side and express the
feeling that maybe [Iranians] think like me,” Edry said.
“It’s to say
from the beginning that ‘I love you’ and ‘I don’t want a war with you because I
don’t know you.’” The “posters” uploaded to the Facebook page for Pushpin
Mehina, a small preparatory school for graphic design students, are simple and
their message is clear.
They include pictures of Israelis – most of whom
appear to be secular, goodlooking and healthy – above the slogan “Iranians, we
will never bomb your country. We love you.”
While the campaign may arguably have more kitsch than content, within 48 hours of posting the first
picture Edry said he was receiving hundreds of messages from Iranians, many of
them expressing gratitude for his efforts. In addition, some Iranians began
making their own graphic designs expressing their love of Israelis and posting
them on the group’s wall.
When asked why he uploaded the posters, Edry
said he wanted “to send a very clear message. Before they send us off to war,
let’s see if there is someone against whom to fight.”
“I’m trying to
break the demonization in a very simple way,” Edry added.
appears to be a shared sentiment of universal brotherhood among those posting on
the Pushpin Mehina page, the overwhelming majority of those responding are
Israelis. Most of the Iranians posting appear to be expatriates living
abroad, mostly young English speakers far from the regime in Tehran. In the
posters young Iranians uploaded to the site, which read “My Israeli friends – I
don’t hate you, I don’t want war – Love, Peace” the subjects’ faces are either
obscured or do not appear.
The Iranian supporters of the campaign
contacted by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday expressed their enthusiastic approval
of such efforts, before asking that their real names and photos not be
One respondent, “Nima,” a 24-year-old resident of Tehran, told the
Post : “We want to spread our voices as people of Iran, that we respect all
people with different beliefs and we want peace as much as you guys
Nima added that he believes the tension between the two countries
“has nothing to do with the people of Israel and Iran, it’s just some stupid
political games between the governments and not the people.”
if he thought such an online campaign could make a difference, Nima expressed
his doubts. “Here in Iran, the government usually [doesn’t] care that much about
what people want or need,” he said, but added that he is sure the campaign could
put some smiles on people’s faces and diffuse some tensions.
native of Shiraz, said, “We are two civilizations with more than 2,500 years of
friendship. For what reason should I hate Israel?” “We are not afraid of war but
we will have no way to fight against brethren and friends from Israel. Brothers
and sisters do not kill each other. If our governments think that we are
fighting against each other, they should continue dreaming,” he
Back in Israel, Edry said that he has no political affiliations
whatsoever, although he is a supporter of “social causes” in the country. The
Facebook page reflects this to some degree, featuring posters made to advertise
courses in “designing and disseminating political messages” and pictures of Edry
taking part in last summer’s social justice protests.
said he created the posters as a citizen, with no nod to his political
“In a war, you aren’t left or right – you are just a soldier,”
he said. “I made this as a citizen, and as a citizen I turn to the other side
and I say: ‘Do you know they’re planning a war? Maybe you don’t feel like it,
neither do I.’”