People with an internet connection and a digital camera are doing their part to end the age old conflict between Israel and Palestine by posting selfies alongside plates of hummus. Why didn't we think of this sooner?
The ongoing conflict in Gaza has global witnesses horrified, outraged, disturbed, and with an overall feeling of limp helplessness. Nearly 2,000 Palestinians have died in the Israeli offensive, including hundreds of children. The Israeli government is calling it self defense against Hamas, some foreign governments are calling it war crimes against the people of Gaza, and if you call it anything on Facebook, everyone is going to yell at you. People who live in rural Wisconsin and who you're pretty sure have never met any Jewish people in their lives will yell at you for being an anti-Semite. It's a clusterfuck.
So, I guess out of a feeling of utter uselessness and despair, a group called The Hummus Initiative invented the hashtag #hummusselfies so that people who wish they could do something substantive but in fact can (or will) not can feel like they're doing something more productive than "nothing" to end the conflict in Gaza. Hummus is delicious, but will Netanyahu get the message? If he won't listen to hummus, then what hope is there? Will Hamas continue to act in ways that the Israeli government classifies as "antagonizing," thus putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk of Israeli rebuttal? Will Israel continue to mercilessly bomb Palestinian civilians, now that hummus has spoken?
In the words of the group's self-penned description:
Our movement aims to underline the commonalities between the two peoples in war instead of focusing on that which separates them. Hummus is one of those commonalities, and it conveys values of togetherness and sincerity, that is why we chose it as a symbol.
Through our hummuselfies, we seek to counterweight the countless hate messages currently invading the social space. We want to create a space of understanding where a peaceful dialogue can take place, instead of allowing this space to be consumed by the fruitless confrontation."
Your move, generations of failed diplomacy.
This reminds me a lot of that classic Onion post-9/11 piece entitled "Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American Flag Cake."