As I write in my article for The Jewish Daily Forward, I have come to be deeply skeptical of feel-good “coexistence”-themed events after my time in Palestine and Israel. There such events often serve to gloss over structural injustice for the sake of warm fuzzies, especially for those who can go home to their power and privilege at the end of the day. In Norway, the power dynamic is quite different, and while I’m still learning the land here, I was impressed by the spirit of this event and those who organized it. I’ll be posting more stories in the next few days, including the connection to Palestine and Israel, because no matter how much of a love-fest you try to create, haters gonna hate. An excerpt from my Forward photo essay:
After four years covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a photojournalist, I’m not used to covering good news. Even before my recent relocation to Norway, land of the Peace Prize and Oslo Accords, it’s been easy to be cynical about institutionalized efforts to promote coexistence.
But a recent grassroots effort by Norwegian Muslims surprised me. Not because they were Muslim, but because their relatively simple gesture — surrounding an Oslo synagogue with a “Ring of Peace” — achieved the kind of international attention typically reserved for, well, terrorist attacks.
UPDATE: This ended up being a very popular story, and I also published stories on Tablet, Evangelicals for Social Action, and +972, the latter focusing on the mini-controversy surrounding the organizers’ unapologetic Palestine solidarity:
“I’m a justice activist,” said Morad Jarodi, another organizer. “To support Palestine to be free from occupation and support Jewish minorities is no contradiction.”