REMEMBER WHEN THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WAS NOBLE

Let’s hope it becomes that again

JUST WHO IS THE JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE?

JVP is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition. Our members are our power, and your support allows us to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine.

 

Click HERE to donate

IN PHOTOS ~~ VETERANS’ DAY IN NEW YORK

On November 11th, Veterans Day thousands of people marched up Manhattan’s 5th  Avenue. Many shouldered rifles and represented the militaristic attitude so prevalent in the United States. But there was one contingent, a hundred people strong: The Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against War, the Granny Peace Brigade, The Raging Grannies (a singing group who sang peace songs all along  5th Avenue)  and other individuals who joined and also marched as the voice for peace. 

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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ICE CREAM AS A ROAD TO PEACE

Five years after teaming up to produce ice cream, Adam Ziv from Kibbutz Sasa and Alaa Sweitat of Galilee village of Tarshiha are now proud owners of successful chain with five stores in northern Israel and Tel Aviv, becoming first Israeli business to win prestigious UN prize.

Adam Ziv (R) and Alaa Sweitat. ‘Reality is reality is the connection between people the way it is created in our stores’ (Photo: Yuval Chen)

Jewish-Arab ice cream business a sweet symbol of coexistence

Shirley Golan

It happened many years ago, but Adam Ziv will never forget how impressed he was by one scoop of caramel ice cream. He was a little boy from a kibbutz who had come to an amusement park as part of his summer camp, and at the end of the visit the children were taken to a hidden ice cream parlor near the park.

“I didn’t even know what caramel was,” he says. “There was no such thing in Kibbutz Sasa, but the name sounded enchanting, and every child was allowed to pick one flavor. So I tried it out, and I fell in love.”

This scoop of ice cream he tasted more than 20 years ago became the first step in a long journey, which recently reached an important milestone: a prize on behalf of the United Nations for helping promote peace. Ziv’s faith in the power of ice cream to bring people closer together apparently convinced the international organization too. It’s what happens when your ice cream is part of a vision of co-existence—a joint Jewish-Arab business.

The prestigious Flourish Prizes were handed out in Cleveland to 17 businesses from all over the world. Ziv, 31, accepted the award together with his business partner over the past five years, 34-year-old Alaa Sweitat, who was born in the Galilee village of Tarshiha and is the owner and chef of the Aluma restaurant.

Sweitat confirms he didn’t hesitate, although ice cream is not part of the Arab street he grew up on. “It doesn’t exist here. There are no ice cream parlors in the villages, and both personally and professionally, I was raised on gourmet food, on a meticulous kitchen,” he says. “But an enthusiastic person arrive, and I decided I felt like doing something new.”

Officially, Sweitat’s partner in the ice cream business is Kibbutz Sasa, which approved Ziv’s financial plan in a vote, and he finds it completely natural too. “At Aluma, I also began as a worker and was promoted to partner with the restaurant’s Jewish owner until I became its owner myself, so a partnership with Jews is nothing unusual as far as I’m concerned. Moreover, it was clear to me that it would provide added value to the village and to the Galilee. I’m delighted every day when Jewish tourists come here and feel at home, because that’s the reception they get here.”

In Buza, like in any other ice cream parlor, the most popular flavor is of course vanilla. But here people can try out unique flavors, according to the available local raw materials.

“Let’s assume that a friend has a lemon tree that bears a lot of fruit on a certain season and he comes over with a box. We’ll make lemon ice cream,” says Ziv, who is responsible for the ice cream production and preparation. “If there’s suddenly a lot of pecan from Sasa’s fields, we’ll make all kinds of flavors with pecan, or with special honey that someone brought over. We also investigate what is happening in the world in this field and renew our flavors accordingly. We enter collaborations with leading chefs like Yonatan Roshfeld, Meir Adoni and Omer Miller, as well as with commercial companies occasionally.

“Personally, my favorite flavor is the roasted pecan with salt and organic maple and our cashew flavor. Alaa prefers the sorbet, for example with lychee from the Galilee and the sabra fruit.”

An ice cream parlor and an investment fund

Two flavors which have been tried out but did not appeal to the Israeli audience are apple sorbet (“most people didn’t even want to taste it, and those who did said it resembled baby fruit puree”) and white chocolate ice cream with ginger and orange zest (“a flavor I was introduced to in the Canary Islands, where it’s very popular,” Ziv says. “I fell in love with it too, but here people wouldn’t even taste it”). On the other hand, the most popular flavor after vanilla is the chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, which is called “Buza cream.”

Unlike Ziv, Sweitat had never dreamed of owning an ice cream business. He connected, however, to Ziv’s vision and spirit of adventurousness, and Buza (the Arabic word for ice cream) was born—ice cream that is produced from the finest products and sold in five locations in northern Israel and in Tel Aviv. And regardless of the wonderful taste of this ice cream, it’s the first Israeli business to win a UN prize.

“When I embarked on my post-army trip, I bought a one-way ticket to Milan with a very clear plan: To play music on the streets, to go from one place to another in Europe and to eat ice cream,” Ziv says. “Six months into the trip, my mother told me she had heard about a project in the Canary Islands—an elderly man who had decided to cross the ocean on a raft and was looking for help. I went there to help him build the raft, and every evening I would have ice cream.

“After several visits to the local ice cream parlor, the owner offered to teach me how to make ice cream and suggested I work there in the evenings. I began doing just that and felt I was in heaven: Next to the sea, playing my music in the evening to people around a bonfire, eating fresh ice cream and feeling good. Shortly afterwards, it suddenly dawned on me and I began asking myself, inspired by that elderly man, how I planned to cross my ocean, what should I do and what do I want to do. I realized that my real dream was not to return to Israel and study music and psychology in order to earn a living, but to open an ice cream parlor with an Arab partner, in an Arab village, in a bid to strengthen the connection between the two people.”

That’s kind of naïve, isn’t it?

“Imagine a summer afternoon, Jewish and Arab parents arriving with their children, nice music playing in the background, the air conditioner is on and the sun is pleasant, and there’s of course good ice cream. What happens? They all sit down and lick their ice cream together. Shortly afterwards, the children start running wild and playing together, the parents look at each other and start talking and getting to know each other, and a sort of natural ‘together’ is created.

“That’s the picture I had in my head, and that’s what’s happening in our store in Tarshiha for five years now. Not to mention the ties created between the employees, who suddenly realize that although they’re members of different religions, they have the same iPhones and the same interests and dreams and plans. It’s beautiful.”

‘Alaa prefers sorbet’

To fulfill his dream, Ziv traveled to Italy to learn about ice cream, its preparation methods and the required machinery for the huge project ahead. He was mostly attracted to gelato, ice cream made of milk and a bit of cream, and dreamed about a transparent kitchen which would allow people visiting the ice cream parlor to experience the preparation process and catch a glimpse of the local and fresh raw materials the ice cream is made of. In the display refrigerator, Ziv wanted to cover the deep ice cream trays with stainless steel lids, to store the products in the finest conditions and offer curious people a surprise experience.

Next, he returned to Israel and began touring Galilee villages in search of the perfect location to fulfill his dream. Following a recommendation from acquaintances, he arrived at the Aluma restaurant and met Sweitat. “Alaa thought about it for a moment and told me it was a good idea and that he had a place for us. We visited it together, and since then—for the past five years—it has been our store, in the center of the village.”

Now with five stores—including a visitors’ center offering tours and workshops in Sasa—50 employees and one important prize, their new dream is to raise money and create a foundation to support other joint businesses.

“We’re doing something which we see as a good thing,” says Ziv. “As far as I’m concerned, reality is the connection between people the way it is created in our stores, and I would like to expand the circle, to be able to offer business support, legal counseling and a financial push for businesses with a similar goal, in a bid to change reality on a wider scale.

“The only way to change attitudes is to communicate. In order to light up the darkness, one must turn on a flashlight. The light we are creating with Buza is probably dim, but it’s a light nonetheless. You come to Tarshiha, stop for ice cream and then enter the supermarket, buy something, meet people, understand that you’re not afraid of them and that you don’t have to be afraid of them. It’s a start.”

 

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI 72 YEARS LATER

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

 

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A PICTURE OF HOPE CAUGHT ON CAMERA

This kind of action outweighs all acts of terror!

Photo by Ezra Landau

Hope for Jerusalem! An Orthodox Jew puts a wool cap on an old Palestinian this morning in Jerusalem.

Hope for Jerusalem!
An Orthodox Jew puts a wool cap on an old Palestinian this morning in Jerusalem.

 

IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE ~~ 120 SECONDS OF HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

WATCH: In 120 seconds, this video will change the way you see the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

An Arab and a Jew asking for hugs on the streets of East Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – and the results will surprise you.

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There IS hope …. It’s up to us to make it a reality! Don’t wait for Bibi’s or Abbas’ OK … Just do it!

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA/NAGASAKI

President Obama neglected to apologise for the slaughter on his recent visit to Japan, But these good people did.

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  Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ ALL LIVES MATTER // NATO KILLS ALL!

TIMES SQUARE ANTI-NATO DEMO

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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In Athens ….

Mass demonstration against NATO in Athens Saturday

Mass demonstration against NATO in Athens Saturday

 

In Warsaw

UNAC leader, Phil Wilayto speaks at anti-NATO Summit in Warsaw  Saturday

UNAC leader, Phil Wilayto speaks at anti-NATO Summit in Warsaw Saturday

A POEM FOR THE GREATEST

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

 THE GREATEST

© By Tom Karlson

born Cassias Clay1942, became Mohammed Ali 1965

yes he held the Olympic gold

laid out Sunny the bear Liston two times

for the world heavyweight belt

joined the Nation of Islam before the 2nd Liston fight

a warm up for what was coming

 

these epic battles were not against

the brothers’ Frazier and Foreman

when Ali refused induction

brought on a waterfall of hate

this enemy could not be defeated with fist and rhyme,

with bouts of fifteen 3 minute rounds

inside the squared circle

 

this foe, a shape changer

from war, to racism, to religious hatred

this main event reverberated

for three and one-half years

of banishment from boxing

the enemy was defeated with brain and talk

with picket line and printed word and the highest court

 

Ali’s fight and victory resonated

from Alabama to Rubens Island

from Billie Jean King to the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee

and the hundreds of campuses that cheered the champ

 

defeated for a time was the pentagon,

the ugly race hating half of America,

the war-profiteers, and their embedded sports writers

 

winner was tolerance and understanding

and how we were taught by the champ

to fight for our beliefs

 

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

IN PHOTOS ~~ 13 YEARS IN IRAQ

On 19 March  one hundred people marched into Manhattan’s Times Sq. to protest the continuing war in Iraq and the Mid-East. This day was the 13th anniversary of the American attack on Iraq. Veterans For Peace, The War Resisters League, “WE WILL NOT BE SILENT” and other peace groups marched into the Square beating the peace drums and displaying banners and posters demanding peace.

Commentary and Photos © Bud Korotzer

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As always, our dear Pete was there in spirit ….

WISDOM OF THE DAY

Just try it!

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IN PHOTOS ~~ VETERANS FOR PEACE ON MEMORIAL DAY

On Memorial day weekend the Veterans For Peace held their annual  event at Battery Park NYC in front of the massive World War II memorial  remembering those killed in the war. Attending were the family and friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, veterans of WWII, veterans of  The Korean War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Participants came to the mike and spoke of those family members and friends killed in war. Chippy Dee, a Desertpeace associate, also memorialized the Palestinians: adults and children murdered by the Zionist Attack Force (also known as the IDF). As each speaker finished they threw a rose into the waters of the Hudson river. At the end of the memorial event the sad musical notes  of “taps” sounded in the park.

Photos  and Commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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PHOTO OF THE DAY ~~MADONNA’S ‘MAKE LOVE NOT WAR!’

In instagram post promoting her new album, Madonna sparks controversy with image of Jewish, Arab men nearly kissing.

The photo of a Jewish and Arab man nearly kissing.

The photo of a Jewish and Arab man nearly kissing.

The above is much nicer than this one …

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Madonna draws controversy on Instagram

Madonna has stirred up controversy after posting a photo of a Palestinian man and a Hasidic Jewish man apparently mid-kiss on Instagram.

The photo, which was posted on Sunday, has already garnered upwards of 70,000 likes in just over 24 hours. It features a Jewish man with side curls wearing a large white knitted skullcap typical of the Breslover Hasidic movement, in addition to an Arab man wearing a keffiyeh. The two appear to be leaning in for a kiss.

“This image is . ❤#rebelhearts,” the caption of the photo reads, referring to Madonna’s latest pop album.

“I see two men one Muslim perhaps and one Jewish together sharing a moment of peace. Can’t we just all get along without discussing religious beliefs?” one of the Instagram comments under the photo reads.

Another wrote: “I don’t understand all the ppl here say it’s not possible I’m Jewish from Israel my boyfriend is Arab Muslim and we live together for 3 years now!”

Many others responded quite negatively to the image, with some posting racist slurs both against Jews and Arabs.

Source

How the image appeared on Instagram

screen-shot-2015-05-18-at-104441-am-1431960212

MOTHER’S DAY ~~ THEN AND NOW

Mother’s Day

© By Tom Karlson 

Julia Ward Howe calls out

Peace and Reconciliation this day, Mother’s Day

No more war-remember-

620,000 sent to the Promised Land,

600,000 armless, eyeless, legless Jonny’s

Dancing days are done

Mother’s day a day for peace

In this new millennium

In America

The United States of North America

Howe is forgotten

Peace is terrorism

Reconciliation is a tool of the fool

The newly dead and near dead

Invisible

Camping on sunless streets

With plastic bowls filled with spare change

Here Hallmark runs this show

3 billion on flowers

100 million for cards

2 billion on gifts

4 billion on meals

Capitalism can sell

Yes capitalism must sell

peace next year?

IN PHOTOS ~~ SIT-IN AND ARRESTS FOR NUCLEAR SANITY

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Ready and waiting to 'serve and protect'

Ready and waiting to ‘serve and protect’

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IN PHOTOS ~~ MARCHING FOR NUCLEAR SANITY

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A huge anti-nuclear march  took place on the streets of Manhattan  Sunday April 26th .  It stretched twelve long city blocks along one car lane from Union sq. 14th St. to 47th St. at the U.N where nuclear disarmament talks are now under way. The estimated number of marches was 5,000+.  

Marchers came from various areas of the U.S.  There was International participation also. The Japanese contingent was by far the largest ( more Japanese participants than US participants), with some people also from Belgium, France and Korea, who joined  the march. At the U.N. a massive rally was held. There were speakers,  dancers and singers. Petitions signed by over 6 million people was delivered to the U.N. demanding an end to nuclear weapons.

There were no mainstream media T.V. mobile units to record this march for  the public.  Once again  Americans  are made to remain ignorant of peace movement events going on around them.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer Commentary by Chippy Dee

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LOOKING BACK TO THE FUTURE

A WEE GLANCE AT MY PAST AND WHY I BELIEVE IN A BRIGHT FUTURE

quote-the-future-is-an-unknown-but-a-somewhat-predictable-unknown-to-look-to-the-future-we-must-first-albert-einstein-342014

Today, April 13th, would be the 80th wedding anniversary of my parents. In 1960, on this day, their family and friends organised a surprise party for their 25th anniversary. I was sent to our local Woolworth Store to buy some crepe paper rolls to decorate the walls. When I got there I was greeted by a picket line, was handed a leaflet that I did not read and went into the store to buy what I needed.

When I came out the demonstrators asked if I read the leaflet I was given, I responded “not yet” … it called for a boycott of Woolworth because their stores in the South refused to serve Blacks at their lunch counters. I felt as if I committed a crime by not heeding their call, so I promised to join their demonstration the following week. I kept my word and continued with these good people for over a year until Woolworth finally changed their policies.

That's me under the third 'O'

That’s me under the third ‘O’

The reception from those passing by was not always the friendliest, I was called every name in the book, from ‘N’ Lover to Communist … I didn’t even know what a Communist was even though I was around during the McCarthy days and the Rosenberg Spy Case. I found it strange that suddenly, because I was against segregation in the South I was a Communist. There were shouts of ….

Russia??? That was a place that my mother left in 1922 for good reasons. Why would I want to go there???

The 60’s were years of change in America. A Catholic was elected President, the Civil Rights Movement grew by leaps and bounds as did the Peace Movement. Fidel Castro was the leader of a new Cuba, just 90 miles away putting an end to the infamous dictatorship of Batista. Times were good and the future looked promising.

It was a natural move to get involved in the ‘Ban The Bomb Movement’. There I found myself in the company of great notables like Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Spock, Linus Pauling, Bertrand Russell and so many more … and we were all called Communists (sic). Some of us investigated the name calling and realised that the shoe fit, so we wear it to this day.

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It was also natural to define 'Communist' and realise that I was one .... that's me next to the cop.

That’s me next to the cop.

Despite the horrible situation that the world is in today, the hope for a bright future prevails. Just yesterday America’s Afro-American President met for the first time with the leader of Cuba. 

There are moves to control the spread of nuclear arms throughout the world.

We lost many Brothers and Sisters along the way, but our ranks continue to swell. Both are the reasons that I never lost the hope of a bright and peaceful future …. and that all started on April 13th.

The rest is history!

Welcome To The Future Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

A Blessing to the memory of those who are no longer with us to see the great changes taking place.

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PEACE IS NOT A GAME OF ‘TRUTH OR DARE’

There was much fuss the past few days over the truth about a photo which turned out to be false ….

RICKI ROSEN Staged: Ricki Rosen’s photograph meant to depict an Israeli boy and a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem has been reproduced hundreds of times.

RICKI ROSEN
Staged: Ricki Rosen’s photograph meant to depict an Israeli boy and a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem has been reproduced hundreds of times.

False or not, the photo was meant to be an inspiration to those fighting for Peace.

The following photo is actually a true one …. but keep in mind that the struggle for Peace is not a game of Truth or Dare! Any tool that can be used can be considered Truth …. I dare you to disagree!

Debbi Cooper’s 1988 photo of an Israeli and a Palestinian actually features an Israeli and a Palestinian.

Debbi Cooper’s 1988 photo of an Israeli and a Palestinian actually features an Israeli and a Palestinian.

The Iconic Mideast Photo That Isn’t Fake

By Naomi Zeveloff

When I interviewed Ricki Rosen about her iconic — and completely staged — 1993 photo depicting a Palestinian boy and an Israeli boy, she reminded me of a similar picture taken by another Jerusalem photojournalist.

Debbi Cooper’s 1988 black and white picture is also of an Israeli and a Palestinian, but hers is real. In it, two young boys, one in a yarmulke and the other with a keffiyeh wrapped around his neck, smile shyly for the camera. Like Rosen’s photo, the picture has taken on a life of its own, and has been reproduced countless times, both with and without Cooper’s knowledge and permission. Today, the picture is an emotional topic for the 60-year-old photojournalist, who teared up when talking about it. “It makes me sad,” she said. “I just wish it could have brought peace.”

“We are in such dark times,” she added. “People come to me and tell me it gives them hope. But what do you do with hope?”

According to Cooper, the photograph was originally commissioned by the New Israel Fund for a full-page New York Times advertisement as the First Intifada was gaining steam. It was meant to illustrate the possibility of Jewish and Palestinian coexistence in wartime and was labeled with the caption “What’s Right With This Picture?”

Cooper had previously photographed dialogue groups in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, so it wasn’t a stretch for her to find two families who would be willing to appear in the photograph. She contacted Diane Greenberg, a longtime friend in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood who, with her husband, was active in the peace movement. Greenberg, an immigrant to Israel from Wales, arranged a meeting with a Palestinian family that they knew in Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa neighborhood. Cooper said that she spent about an hour with the families before she photographed their two sons, who had met for the first time that day.

Greenberg put me in touch with her son in the photo, Shmuel Greenberg, now a 33-year-old lawyer and father-of-one living in Tel Aviv. He said that the photo shoot felt natural because he had spent time with Palestinian families through his family’s activism. “Being around Palestinians wasn’t something that was weird or different or posed or something done for the camera,” he told me.

A current-day photo of Shmuel Greenberg, the Israeli boy in the original photo by Debbi Cooper

Attempts to reach the Palestinian boy in the picture, whom Cooper identified as Nazih Awad, were unsuccessful. Both Cooper and Diane Greenberg said that the family relocated to Jordan to pursue educational opportunities for the children.

Cooper told me that over the past 10 years she has heard from individuals who saw her iconic photo at their university Hillel office, on a Taglit-Birthright Israel campaign, in the New York City subway and even at the Vatican. In 2012, the popular file-sharing site Pirate Bay posted it on its homepage with the caption “The Peace Bay” and said it would not take it down until “true peace” was achieved in the region. (As of this writing, the image is no longer on the homepage.)

The photo has also been widely used by Stand With Us, a right-wing Israel advocacy group. Cooper said she granted the group permission to use it on one of their billboards. “I personally had to think long and hard about how people were using it,” she said. “I had to accept that it has a force of its own. It has a message — when you look at a picture like that, it makes you stretch your mind to think that [peace] is a possibility.”

NOMI COOPER ROSENBERG
Photographer Debbi Cooper

The photo has since become a Stand With Us mainstay in its “Billboard Wars” to counter what it describes as anti-Israel messaging in public spaces in cities such as Portland and New York City. In one billboard, the photo is next to a block of text that says: “SAVE GAZA FROM HAMAS/Teach PEACE, not HATE.” In another, the photo is flanked by text that reads: “Israel Needs a Partner for Peace/The Palestinian Authority Must Accept The Jewish State & Teach Peace, Not Hate.”

Shmuel, the Israeli boy in the photo, said that he was surprised to learn that his likeness was being used by the organization. He said that Stand With Us has run campaigns that are “pretty much the opposite of my personal opinions, or at least partly opposite.” He said he contacted the organization to share his thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that he never heard back from the group. (Stand With Us’s executive director Roz Rothstein said she never heard from Greenberg.)

When we spoke, Shmuel was on reserve duty training solders in Southern Israel. He said he has no qualms about serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, but that he wishes the circumstances were different today. “It’s a depressing perspective, knowing that it’s been 25 years [since the photo was taken], and you’re talking to me now from my military reserve service,” he said. “It’s really surrealistic and ironic for me at this point.” He said that he took the photo with him when he first enlisted, as a way to remember his values.

Cooper said that she does not see the image as a relic from the past, because it was always aspirational, rather than a reflection of the situation between Israelis and Palestinians on the ground. “I guess I am hoping for a time when it is not an iconic image,” she told me. “I don’t look at that as a time that there were friendships. It was always part of hope rather than reality.”

EVEN A FAKE IMAGE CAN BE AN INSPIRATION FOR PEACE

RICKI ROSEN Staged: Ricki Rosen’s photograph meant to depict an Israeli boy and a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem has been reproduced hundreds of times.

RICKI ROSEN
Staged: Ricki Rosen’s photograph meant to depict an Israeli boy and a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem has been reproduced hundreds of times.

“One of the things I feel about it is just kind of sad,” said Shapiro. “There was a brief period where it didn’t seem as far-fetched as it does now. And it could have just been my naivete as a child, but I felt it almost symbolizes something that we have lost and that I hope we can regain. I think there is a genuine belief that if there is a peaceful solution there can be not only peace but camaraderie and real friendship.”

All Grown Up: Zvi Shapiro (left), now 32, wore the kippah in the famous photo. Zemer Aloni (right), now 33, wore the keffiyeh.

All Grown Up: Zvi Shapiro (left), now 32, wore the kippah in the famous photo. Zemer Aloni (right), now 33, wore the keffiyeh.

Iconic Mideast Photo Is a Fake — and Heartbreaking One at That

Jewish-Palestinian Friendship Once Seemed Possible

By Naomi Zeveloff

One week into Israel’s war with Gaza this past summer, the Barbadian-born singer Rihanna tweeted a photo of an Israeli boy and a Palestinian boy with their arms around each other facing away from the camera: “Let’s pray for peace and a swift end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict!” she wrote. “Is there any hope?….”

The photo was posted as damage control after the pop star tweeted — and then eight minutes later deleted — the hashtag #FreePalestine. That initial tweet provoked an immediate barrage from Israel advocates on Twitter asking if she supported Hamas. It’s not clear to what degree the photo mollified her critics. But what Rihanna didn’t know was that the photo is actually a fake.

The boys in the picture aren’t an Israeli and a Palestinian, but two Israeli Jews.

The 1993 photo, taken three months after the signing of the Oslo Accords, is one of the most iconic pictures from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In it, a boy in a red shirt with a yarmulke and a boy in a black shirt and a keffiyeh walk with their arms slung over each other’s shoulders. Though the background is blurry, they are clearly in the white and green environs of Jerusalem, meandering on a dirt path to an unknown destination. They appear to be lost in conversation, oblivious to the photographer behind them.

In addition to Rihanna’s tweet — which was retweeted by 46,000 people — the photograph has been reproduced hundreds of times on the Internet, appearing in the American Jewish magazine Tikkun, on the web site of the Israel advocacy group Jerusalem Institute of Justice, on various American and Israeli news sites and Facebook pages, and even on the blog belonging to Jack Kornfield, one of the most prominent Buddhists in America.

Yet unlike the other famous pictures documenting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — such as the 1967 photo of three Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall, or the 1993 shot of Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shaking hands on the White House lawn — the photo of the two boys is purely allegorical. With their backs to the camera, the boys are anonymous stand-ins for all Israelis and Palestinians. Set against the backdrop of one of the oldest cities on earth, the picture has a timeless quality. It’s a depiction of what might have been, and what could be in the future, in spite of today’s moribund peace process.

It’s also completely staged.

“I think I felt awkward about it,” said the boy in the yarmulke, speaking now some 21 years later as an adult.

The Israeli boy in the yarmulke is Zvi Shapiro, the son of two secular American-Israelis. The Palestinian boy is Zemer Aloni, an Israeli Jew. The only real aspect of the photo is that the boys were indeed friends and that the picture was taken in their Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, which straddles the 1949 armistice line and contains both a Jewish and an Arab section. The boys grew up on the Jewish side of the neighborhood, and while they both recall interactions with Palestinians, neither counted close friends on the other side of the line.

The picture was taken by Ricki Rosen, an American photojournalist who has been covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for 26 years. Rosen snapped the photo on assignment for Maclean’s, the national news magazine of Canada, for a cover story about the Oslo Peace Accords. Rosen said that the magazine’s art director was so specific in what he wanted that he even drew her a picture — one boy in a yarmulke, the other in a keffiyeh shot from the back walking down a long road, which was supposed to symbolize the road to peace. He didn’t care whether the boys were actually Israelis or Palestinians, nor did it occur to him that the Palestinian’s keffiyeh would be styled in a way more typical for elderly Palestinian men than for young boys.

“It was a symbolic illustration,” said Rosen. “It was never supposed to be a documentary photo.” She also took other real-life photos for the same article.

Rosen, who also lived in Abu Tor, asked her neighbor Haim Shapiro, then a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, if he would be willing to volunteer his young son for the Jewish boy in the assignment. “If there was any place to find a Palestinian kid who would agree to do this, it would have been Abu Tor,” said Rosen. “But I didn’t look because I thought it would be a very difficult thing. The relations had completely broken down after the first intifada, and Palestinians were very fearful of being seen as collaborating with Israelis because collaborators were being killed.” Instead, Zvi Shapiro’s best friend Zemer Aloni, who lived a block away, would wear the keffiyeh. Aloni said that the fact that he has “Eastern roots” — his father is an Iranian Jew — made him an appropriate choice for the job.

On the day of the shoot, Rosen brought a keffiyeh that she used to leave on her dashboard on reporting trips to the West Bank during the first intifada — a safeguard against her vehicle being pelted by stones and Molotov cocktails — and dressed 12-year-old Aloni in it. Zvi Shapiro, then 11, donned a yarmulke, and the two went for a walk on the nearby Sherover Promenade.

“Ricki told us to just talk to each other,” said Shaprio. “It’s also funny because I don’t think we would have necessarily put our arms around each other the way we are.” Rosen shot several images of the pair that day, including one from the front that is rarely reproduced.

Keen Eye: Ricki Rosen has been photographing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for 26 years.

COURTESY Keen Eye: Ricki Rosen has been photographing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for 26 years.

In 2002, the photo was digitized as part of Rosen’s collection on Corbis Images, a Seattle-based company that manages licensing for editorial and creative photographs. On the Corbis web site, there is no indication that the photograph is fake; it is categorized as a stock image under “News.” Yet even though the photo is copyrighted, the vast majority of the reproductions online — Rihanna’s included — have occurred without Rosen’s or Corbis’s knowledge or permission. On some sites, such as that of Tikkun, the photograph is credited as Creative Commons, meaning anyone can use it — a categorization to which Rosen never agreed. Without control over where the image appears, Rosen said, she is unable to explain to those who would use it that the photo is staged. Nor has she been properly compensated for her work.

It wasn’t until after Rihanna tweeted the photo and Zvi Shapiro’s mother brought it to Rosen’s attention that she realized how many people were posting the image without her consent. She said that Corbis is looking into Rihanna’s usage on her behalf. If Rosen is not financially compensated, she said. “I want her to retweet it with my credit and say, ‘I am sorry for stealing the intellectual property of another artist.’” She would also like Rihanna to explain that the photo isn’t really of a Palestinian and an Israeli kid, but is meant to represent “the hopes then for peace down the road.”

After the photo shoot, Shapiro and Aloni remained close friends for a few years but began to drift apart in middle school. Shapiro said that the last time he saw Aloni was when they were both in the army and they ran into each other at a coffee shop, a meeting Aloni did not recall. Shapiro, now 32, said that his experience in the army — he was stationed in Jerusalem during the Palestinian suicide bombing campaign in the second intifada — left him wanting to go to a “place that was the least like Israel as I could find.” Rather than travel to India or South America, like many Israelis do after the army, he enrolled in Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He is now completing a doctoral program in child clinical psychology at Pennsylvania State University. Married to a woman who does not speak Hebrew, he does not know if or when he will return to Israel.

After Aloni’s army service, he was trained as an architect at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Now 33, he is working as an architect in Nahalal, near Haifa, where he lives with his wife. Aloni said that looking back on the photo, he had no qualms about appearing as a Palestinian. “I don’t see Arabs as the enemy,” he said. “If someone told me I looked like an Arab, I wouldn’t care. It’s not something to be ashamed of.” When asked whether some Palestinians might consider the outfit degrading — akin to blackface in America — he said he had never considered the issue in that light. “America is much more politically correct about stuff than here.”

Shapiro, on the other hand, said that the racial aspect of the photo now strikes him as “really, really strange.”

“I think it’s probably less acceptable today than it was then,” he said. Because he’s not religious, he also felt like a bit of an imposter wearing a yarmulke. “It’s really not me in the picture, but it’s even less him,” he said of Aloni.

“One of the things I feel about it is just kind of sad,” said Shapiro. “There was a brief period where it didn’t seem as far-fetched as it does now. And it could have just been my naivete as a child, but I felt it almost symbolizes something that we have lost and that I hope we can regain. I think there is a genuine belief that if there is a peaceful solution there can be not only peace but camaraderie and real friendship.”

Aloni called the image a “wishful thinking picture.” He added, “Then it was almost a reality, and now it is like a vision.”

Latuff's spoof of above image

Latuff’s  spoof of above image

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Same theme

Same theme

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carlos_latuff_apartheid_exists_in_palestine

 

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