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Iran Loves Israel (also known as “Love and Peace”) is a grassroots anti-war campaign that aims to bring mutual assurance of peace and reconciliation between the peoples of Iran and Israel, two rivalry nations in the Middle East with a history of animosity. The initiative was launched by two Israeli graphic designers Ronny Edry and Michal Tamir in early March 2012.
On March 17th, 2012, Tel Aviv-residents and Israeli graphic designers Ronny Edry and Michal Tamir launched a Facebook campaign with pacifist slogans addressed towards Iran, affirming their love for the Iranians and assured that “Israel will not bomb Iran.” The original instance was created by Edry himself and uploaded onto the Facebook page of Pushpin Mehina, a small graphic design preparatory school.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Iran has severed all diplomatic relations and commercial ties with Israel and refused to recognize Israel as a state. More recently, the tension between the two countries has grown significantly due to the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s uncompromising stance on development of nuclear technology, which has been met by strong opposition and threatening rhetorics of preemptive military strikes from the Israeli government.
At first, Edry’s poster was met by satirical posters conveying cynical outlooks towards the gesture of an olive branch.
But within hours, other Israeli users on Facebook began replicating the poster design and the slogan with their own photos, which were initially uploaded onto the Facebook page of Pushpin Mehina. On March 17th, Edry launched the official campaign blog “Israel Loves Iran” and a Facebook page titled “Love and Peace,” with the support from his graphic design students at Pushpin Mehina.
Meanwhile, similar responses came pouring in from the Iranians on Facebook, either in the form of Facebook posts or posters with the slogan “We <3 You Israeli People.” According to the news, the couple has apparently received thousands of private messages from Iranian Facebook users who said they were deeply moved by the campaign.
“My Israeli friends, I don’t hate you, I don’t want war.”
“We love you too. Your word reaches out there, despite the censorship. And Iranian people, aside from the regime, have no hard feelings or animosity towards anybody, particularly Israelis.”
By March 19th, the posters had thousands of likes and shares on Facebook and a copycat Facebook page titled “Israel Loves Iran” had sprung up.
The online campaign was first reported by the Israeli online magazine 927 Magazine and picked up by major news publications like JPost and Globes in Israel, as well as English-language news sites including CNN and Washington Post. Following the international news coverage, the campaign founder Ronny Edry launched an online fundraising event to print more posters and posted a video message on YouTube: