Twitter’s ever present hashtags are usually just cute little phrases in reference to some recent pop-culture trend.
Not so in this case, where the message of an important viral campaign can be summed up by its hashtag alone: #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies.
The social media crusade started two weeks ago when two students of Hunter College in New York City decided they were sick and tired of seeing the internet full of hateful speech related to the escalated Israel-Palestine conflict.
Those two students were Dania Darwish, originally from Syria, and Abraham Gutman, an Israeli from Tel Aviv. Together they created a Facebook page where they began posting pictures of themselves together, getting along despite the uneasy history between their home-nations.
From there, they encouraged other Israelis and Arabs to post peaceful pictures of themselves together using their patented hashtag, all in the effort to prove that the two races need not fight. Unsurprisingly, people across Facebook and Twitter took to the idea pretty quickly.
— Tineke Senf (@TinekeSenf) July 15, 2014
The campaign really took off once Lebanese-American journalist Sulome Anderson posted a photo of her and her Jewish boyfriend kissing on Facebook and Twitter. It has since been retweeted more than 2,400 times, and Anderson even wrote about it for New York Magazine.
Since then, more and more couples have posted similar pictures, as well as people of mixed Israeli-Arab heritage posting pictures of themselves.