FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

We Refuse to be Enemies

I have just returned from a concert by Gabriel Meyer Halevy, an Argentine-Israeli musician. He is the son of Marshall Meyer, an American rabbi who lived in Argentina during that country’s “Dirty War” in which thousands of people became “desaparecidos.” Marshall Meyer’s work helped save the lives of dozens of people who were persecuted by the Argentine military. His son Gabriel carries his father’s same concern for peace and human rights.

During the concert, Gabriel started by singing one of the most beautiful songs for peace, “I only ask of God,” a song known all over the world. The song was written by Leon Gieco, an Argentine musician, and its lyrics still resonate as I leave the concert.

I only ask of God

Not to let me be indifferent to the wars

It is a big monster that treads hard

On the poor innocence of the people

Gabriel, who lives in Israel, told the audience how, during the last Israeli offensive on Gaza he joined with several Arab friends and, in the middle of the conflict surrounding them -like staying in the eye of a storm, he said- lived for several days in total community of working and praying for peace. Their action was part of a growing movement called We refuse to be enemies.

The movement has the participation of Arabs, Israelis and Israeli Arabs united in their longing for peace. The We refuse to be enemies slogan has now turned into an international social media campaign against the unnecessary deaths in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on the need for peace in the region.

During the time Gabriel was with his Palestinian friends, living without any of the modern conveniences of the age -no Wi-Fi, no cellular phones, no computers- they only learned of the war raging around them through one of the members of the group. She lived nearby, and twice a day returned to her home to learn what was happening and convey the news to the rest of the group.

“Totally isolated from our surroundings,” said Gabriel, “we cared for the animals in the farm, a donkey, a few chickens, rabbits, and planted some trees, trees that represented a counterpoint to the lives that were being destroyed at the time.”

Although a small movement at the moment, We Refuse to be Enemies can become an important source of activities where both Palestinian and Israelis who want to know each other better join in a necessary step towards peace. In this regard, I remember an old Israeli professor who lives in Jerusalem who told me that, aside from his gardener, he had never spoken to a Palestinian person. How can there be peace among people who don’t know each other?

Ignorance breeds hate and hate breeds violence. By getting to know each other better, both Israelis and Palestinians create the necessary conditions for peace. As Israeli poet and composer Amir Paiss stated, “When we choose Love over Fear, we re-educate ourselves and educate our children to seeing one another as partners for Peace rather than rivals for war.”

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award and a national journalism award from Argentina.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail