By Ari Rusila , August 9, 2015,  published in  Policy Issues Related to Peace, Conflict and Development

Hostility between Israel and Iran — over the US-Iranian nuclear control agreement — has never been worse.  Israel has made an intensive lobby against the deal.  From Iranian side according to New York Post report, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is author of 416-page book advocating long-term, low-intensity warfare to wear down Israeli Jews and make them leave the country. Book also calls Holocaust a “propaganda ploy.”  However there has been also opposite phenomena at the grass roots. Latest was when an Israeli academic received a warm invitation from Iran as reported in Jerusalem Post on 9th August 2015:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Chemistry Prof. Renata Reisfeld has been invited to become a member of the editorial board of the Tehran-based International Journal of Environment, Energy and Waste. Reisfeld happily accepted the offer. Reisfeld, the Enrique Berman Professor of Solar Energy at HU’s Institute of Chemistry, told The Jerusalem Post that Maryam Pazoki, assistant professor at the Faculty of Environment at the University of Tehran, sent her the official invitation. “The Iran Solid Waste Association (ISWA) is eager to promote academic, practical and simultaneous interdisciplinary research regarding technical, social, and cultural aspects of environment, energy, and waste.”

Therefore, “it has decided to set up a peer-reviewed, open-access International Journal of Environment, Energy and Waste ( available both in printed and electronic versions. On behalf of Prof. Omid Bozorg Haddad (the chief editor of the journal), I would like to invite you to join our elite group of managing editors and editorial board. It is my honor to have your name and support for participating in selection of editors occasionally. I am sure that with your support, we can make our ambitious goal a reality,” the Iranian academic wrote. Source: Jerusalem Post

Earlier in July 2013, Iranian film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an Iranian film maker and member of the Iranian political opposition who has won some 50 awards, visited Israel as a guest of honor at the Jerusalem Film Festival. He received an award for his efforts to promote freedom and democracy in Iran and hosted a film screening of his recent film The Gardener – a film that explores the Bahai community in Israel. The Gardener is the first Iranian film since the 1979 Iranian Revolution to be filmed within Israel. A number of his other films were also highlighted at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Crowds of Israelis honored him with standing ovations. Makhmalbaf was the first high-profile Iranian artist and former revolutionary to visit the Jewish state since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

In response to Makhmalbaf’s visit to Israel, Javad Shamghadri, one of the authorities of the cinema agency, ordered the withdrawal of all of Makhmalbaf’s works from Iran’s cinema museum. Also a group of Iranian scholars, artists, journalists and activists who are deeply concerned by the decision of Makhmalbaf to take part in the Jerusalem International Film Festival as they see that his participation directly violates the International call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of the State of Israel campaign issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005, as well as the specific call for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel issued in July 2004. On the other hand more than 80 Iranian scholars, opposition group members, and human rights activists openly declared their support of Mohsen Makhmalbaf‘s decision. More about case in my article  Iranians And Israeli Instead Of Israel Vs.Iran

Happily the Jerusalem Film Festival was not an isolated case. At grassroots there has been at least since 2012 a movement labelled as ”Israel loves Iran/Iran loves Israel”. It is a line of communication between the people of Israel and Iran – a bridge in the Middle East between the people. The mission of this mostly virtual group is to break the wall of fear, built a bridge of communication as war happens where there is no communication. ”And the only thing we can do…is communicate. Get the lines open. That’s hope…and that’s easy. Because of the internet” says in their mission statement. At grass-roots one of the activity was when 70 buses rode the streets of Tel Aviv carrying message for peace.

Read the original article here.