'Jews and Arabs Refuse to Be Enemies' Proves Love is Bigger Than War

PHOTO: Sulome Anderson, who is half Lebanese, kisses her boyfriend, who is Jewish.
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Amid unrest in the Middle East, some interfaith couples are determined to prove love is stronger than war.

Journalist Sulome Anderson, who is half Lebanese, kisses her Jewish boyfriend in a viral photograph posted on Facebook and Twitter -- part of an explosive social media campaign spreading the message: "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies."

"When we started dating we would argue a lot about politics and slowly but surely, we started coming to some consensus," Anderson told ABC News about her relationship. "We still argue sometimes, but we're coming closer to understanding each other's perspectives."

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"When it comes down to it, we're people and we love each other and that's what matters most," she added.

Meanwhile, Arab-Israeli tensions have erupted into vicious combat in the Gaza Strip.

Anderson, 29, is the daughter of Terry Anderson, the former Middle East bureau chief for the Associated Press who was held prisoner by the Islamic militant group now known as Hezbollah for nearly seven years. She's writing a book about what happened to her father.

"I've had a pretty intimate experience with how much hate can wreck lives in the Middle East," said Anderson, who splits her time between New York and Beirut.

Her love life has been tested, too. Anderson's boyfriend, who has dual citizenship in America and Israel, grew up strictly Orthodox and his family is "decidedly uncool" with their relationship, she said.

But his family has more of a problem with her not being Jewish than with her being Arab, Anderson added. Her boyfriend declined to provide his name for this article.

Anderson hopes the #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies campaign helps people understand what's really at stake during war: people.

"What really excites me is that there are people whose perspectives I don't share, from the pro-Israeli side, who have retweeted our picture and others, and that's what's really important to me," she said. "Not so much that people agree with us, but that people who don't agree with us are sharing this message."

Abraham Gutman and Dania Darwish, both students at Hunter College in New York, launched the hashtag less than two weeks ago, prompting people from both sides to share messages and photos representing peace.

"The campaign exists in a sense in Israel, the slogan has been alive for years in Hebrew," Gutman told ABC News. "We wanted to use that same slogan, to strengthen it, to show the international community that we don't have to be enemies."

Gutman, from Tel Aviv, Israel, says he doesn't always agree with Darwish, who is Syrian, when it comes to Middle Eastern politics, but that the two are good friends.

"We never felt that our discussion became rude or had a tone of hate," the 23-year-old said. "But with Israel and Gaza, it seems that the tone online and on social media is harsher and harsher and people are using more violent words. We wanted to produce a voice that counters that. We can disagree, but we must be able to diffuse the hate."

Darwish, 21, hopes the campaign gives both Arabs and Israelis a safe forum to talk about political issues.

"We are trying to send the message that hate should not be part of the dialogue," she said. "We should watch our language, we should watch what we say to others. There's a lot of pain, a lot of tension in the Palestine-Israel conflict, but we're trying to create an online community where people with different opinions can talk in a respectful and productive way."

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