Staff at The Conversation often accuse me of being some sort of war-mongering death nut, intent only on walking over the corpses of the Middle East in the quest for a story. (Stories that they publish, of course.) Just to prove them wrong, I’ll make this blog entry about something a bit more positive: How Israelis learned to stop worrying and love the Iranian bomb.
I’m not a big fan of the slacktivist paradigm that reckons all positive change in the Middle East is brought about by social media. I do though think that online movements can offer some insight into the thoughts and feelings of ‘the masses’ and at least demonstrate that there are multiple and contrarian viewpoints out there.
One of my students (Thanks Matthew) led me to a site called Israel Loves Iran and its associated Facebook page . This social media campaign is aimed at showing that not all Israelis are Iran haters. Participants are encouraged to upload photos and comments affirming their beliefs that “as people we have more in common than our governments do”. The hopeful pledge is “we will never bomb your country”.
Naturally it’s not really up to the Facebookers as to whether Netanyahu pulls the trigger. I also wonder whether the site might be blocked in Iran, not least because some of the photos posted by liberated young Israelis would be considered risqué by the Mullahs of Qom. But at least this sort of campaign shows that the love is out there. And as I am always haranguing my students about, the Middle East is never a black and white picture.
Here at least is a nice shade of pink.