Foreign Policy Blogs

The Israel-Iran Facebook Lovefest

When you hear people in Israel talking about Iran these days, the hot topic is not whether there will be war or not. It’s whether they have showed any love to, or got any love from, and Iranian. As sappy as it sounds, it’s the truth.

At the center of the new fashion in showing all this love is Facebook. This isn’t surprising, considering the role Facebook has played over the past two years in the Arab spring revolutions, informing on the conflict in Syria, and it’s general power to mobilize and organize groups of like-minded people.

But all the same, take a look at the statistics of Facebook’s current role in world affairs- it is more than surprising; it is heartwarming. The Israel-Loves-Iran Facebook page already has 45,319 likes, and the Iran-Loves-Israel has 11,691 likes. (In the 20 minutes since I started writing this post, the Israel-Loves-Iran got almost 100 more likes.)

An image from the Facebook group, Iran-Loves-Israel, which has almost 12,000 likes.

The amazing thing about all of this from the ground in Israel is that the Facebook lovefest is affecting public discourse and perception. Iranians and Israelis are making a point of putting their hand on their heart when facing one another and offering each other friendship and peace. Unbelievable as it sounds, I heard someone tell a story about it just yesterday.

The most fascinating part of this social media-inspired show of solidarity is that it is outside of international relations paradigms. Nowhere in the allotted formulas for averting war between nations is there mention of the buffer that a public outpouring of expressions of love and friendship can create. It goes beyond public opinion or perception. People are actively trying to take matters into their own hands and avert war in the border-less realm of cyberspace.

That’s something Machiavelli could never have imagined.

 

Author

Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker

Genevieve Belmaker is a freelance journalist and contributing editor with The Epoch Times (www.theepochtimes.com). She also contributes to Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists and Poynter.org. Her blog on journalism is http://artofreportage.com.

Genevieve has traveled throughout the U.S., Asia, Central America, Israel and the West Bank for reporting assignments, including major investigative reports on the recovery of New Orleans, the encroaching presence of China in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the dangerous import of melamine-contaminated milk into the U.S. and settlement outposts in the West Bank. She regularly reports on issues related to journalism, and the work of journalists.

She holds a BA from the University of Southern California in International Relations, and has been a member of several prominent national and international professional media organizations, including the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the International Women’s Media Foundation, the New York Press Club, and the Newswomen’s Club of New York. She lives in Jerusalem, Israel with her husband and son.

Areas of Focus:
New Media; Journalism; Culture and Society

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