ON MARCH 15th, Ronny Edry, a 41-year-old Israeli citizen, posted a photo on Facebook that featured a simple message: “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.” Below that, he wrote:
To the Iranian people, to all mothers, fathers, children, brothers, and sisters,
For there to be a war between us, first we must be afraid of each other. We must hate. I am not afraid of you. I don’t hate you. I don’t even know you. No Iranian ever did me no harm. I’ve never even met an Iranian, just one in Paris in a museum – nice dude.
I see sometimes here on the TV about Iranians talking about war. I am sure it does not represent all of the people of Iran. If you see someone on your TV talking about bombing you, be sure it does not represent all of the people of Israel.
Within 24 hours, Israelis had started sharing their own photos with the same message. And within 48 hours, Iranians began to reciprocate, uploading messages of love and peace to Israelis.
Ronny created this YouTube video to help spread the message beyond Facebook and to raise money to help make posters and continue the movement.
Unsurprisingly, the comments on the video aren’t all love. The most common dissenting cry is an obvious one — Ronny can’t, any more or less than any other citizen of either country, say with certainty that Israel will never bomb Iran.
Those critics have missed the point.
As Ronny states at the end of the video, “this is a message by the people, to the people.” The innocent citizens of one nation to another. It is their governments who are making threats, holding war simulation exercises, and instilling fear and hatred.
Yes, it is quite possible that the Israeli government will launch an attack on Iran. I believe every Israeli and Iranian participating in Ronny’s campaign is acutely aware of that. In fact, for citizens of other countries to accuse them of being ignorant of their situation is ignorant in itself.
The point of this message is that they — the people, the citizens — refuse to attack one another. The people refuse to bomb one another. The people refuse to be controlled by fear. What really defines a country — its government, or its people?
Ronny is right. Israelis will never bomb Iranians. The people are not launching an attack. Their governments might succeed in starting a war, but they are failing at intimidating their citizens into supporting it.