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Israelis give their votes to Palestinians in Facebook campaign

In an act of protest one can only find in the world of social media, activists open a Facebook page where Israelis are urged to ‘hand over’ their voting rights to Palestinians.

Every once in a while, social media shows you what an amazing tool it can be.

On December 26, 2012, a new Facebook page was created, called “Real Democracy.” The basic idea behind it is that Israelis “give up” their vote in the upcoming elections to any of the millions of Palestinians under Israeli rule who have no right to vote. It’s all done on Facebook. The Israeli posts a status saying he/she’s willing to do it, the Palestinian tells him/her who to vote for.

The group behind the page consists of Israeli, Palestinian and international activists. Some of them took part in a similar campaign called “Give your vote” in the 2010 elections in England. In that campaign, thousands of Englishmen gave their votes to people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana “who are directly affected by UK policies.” According to one activist from the group, the idea is to show the “lack of democracy” not only on the local level in Israel/Palestine, but also on the international level, particularly the UN, which “allows the United States to enable the occupation.”

Here are some examples of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation from the Facebook page from the last few days:

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I spoke with the Israeli and Palestinian in the first dialogue above:

Ofer Neiman: “Over the past few years I reached the conclusion that parliamentary change will not come from the Left. That is why I decided it was time to change the rules of the game. Too many good Leftists invest their time in trying to change from the inside, I support BDS and in general anything that undermines the legitimacy of what I see as an apartheid regime. These elections are not democratic, they are not legitimate. I used to be an activist in Hadash, but I no longer support any party in the system. Yet, I will happily vote Hadash because that is what Bassam asked me to do. It is the decision of someone who has no vote. I am only the messenger, I have no deliberation about it.”

Bassam Aramin: “I am 44 from the West Bank village of Anata. Between the ages of 17-24 I sat in an Israeli jail, for rock throwing. My daughter was killed by a rubber bullet to the head, shot by Israeli soldiers. She was 10 years old, in 2007, and was standing outside her school (more about Bassam’s story and his struggle for justice can be read here – A.K.) I saw the initiative on the internet. And yes, we want a real democracy. You are not a democracy if you occupy another people. I’ve heard there are calls to boycott the elections. I think this is wrong. If you have a vote, you should try to change. Hadash is my choice, because it is an Arab-Jewish party that calls for coexistence between both peoples. It’s very important for Palestinians to know, that this campaign shows that there are human beings on the enemy’s side. They have volunteered for this, no one is forcing them to do it. They are giving up their vote in an act of protest, saying to us that they are with us in our struggle. It is very important for the reconciliation and peace agreement that will come in the future.”

The group hopes that the dialogues will slowly move onto the official Facebook page in the next coming days. The following is from the About section on the page.

This is an act of refusal, a democratic rebellion. We are Palestinians and Israelis who refuse to participate in the illusion of democracy anymore. In the upcoming Israeli elections we, citizens of Palestine, will exercise our civic right to vote. We, Israeli citizens, will give up our own votes and instead vote as our Palestinian counterparts tell us to.

We believe that all people are born equal. This is supposedly a universal value. Yet the current Israeli and international law do not treat the citizens of Palestine and the citizens of Israel equally. Without a ‘one person-one vote’ system, Israel cannot be democratic. Without equality between citizens, the UN and other global institutions cannot be democratic. Either the Israeli occupation stops, or all Palestinains must be allowed to vote in the Israeli elections. To leave Palestinians subjects of a state in which they are not full citizens, is in contradicion with the basic principles of democracy.

We know that to some, this is a provocative act. We hope to provoke thought, dialogue and a political change. What we want is equality between people – in Palestine, Israel and the world.

We are not alone. The world-wide struggle for institutions that reflect equality between people is a long and difficult one. In a similar campaign in 2010, citizens of the UK gave their votes to people from Afhganistan, Bangladesh and Ghana. Another campaign will take place in Germany in 2013. We are inspired by our sisters and brothers in squares in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Mexico, Spain, the US and Britain, inspired by the movements for women’s suffrage, the Indian resistance to the British occupation, the struggle for democracy in South-Africa and the American civil rights movement. Their victories give us hope. We too shall overcome.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Matt

      Palestinians can vote in Palestinian elections, Israelis can vote in Israeli elections. If any Israelis don’t want to vote in Israeli elections, they can leave Israel and not vote. To give their vote to an enemy nation is tantamount to treason.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        And if it isn’t an enemy nation so much as an occupied one?

        Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          The Palestinians are occupied because they’re the enemy. I guess you can always dispute whether that’s the cause – some people think it’s because The Settlers are in the Driver’s Seat – but you can’t dispute that Palestinians are an enemy of the State of Israel. That’s a fact, not a theory. I mean, the sky is blue.

          Reply to Comment
          • sh

            “but you can’t dispute that Palestinians are an enemy of the State of Israel. That’s a fact, not a theory. I mean, the sky is blue.”

            I often wonder what would have happened if, after 48, we would have repatriated the Palestinians and treated them like we promised in our Declaration of Independence. Would they be our enemy today?

            One thing is sure. By not doing any of those things and depriving more and more of them of their freedom, property and rights in subsequent years, *we* certainly qualify as *their* enemy.

            And since the sky is blue – or was yesterday – the Settlers are in the Driving Seat.

            Reply to Comment
          • Nic de Jager

            Aaron, they are the enemy because you took their land, buddy.

            Reply to Comment
          • rsgengland

            Nic – it has to be assumed by your post that there were no Jews in the area between the river and the sea from the Roman deportations till the 1850s’
            For your information there have been Jews there for at least 3000 years without a break.
            If it was not for the continuous murders and killings over the last 2000 years the Jewish population would have been far greater.
            All the Jewish land acquired over the last 150 years has been legally bought from local landowners.
            That does not include the lands owned by Jews prior to the 1850s’ that was owned by Jews, often for hundreds of years
            State owned land is just that.
            All state land in the British Mandate areas that fell under Israel, became Israeli State Land.
            This applies to all countries irrespective of race, religion , creed or colour

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            Aaron, they are the enemy because you took their land, buddy.

            Exactly! But I wonder why you told me this, since it’s obvious and I’ve said it myself many times? By the way, I ain’t your buddy.

            Reply to Comment
    2. IAmGod

      Well, Matt, I wouldn’t say treason. If a nation is truly a democracy, then the people there also have the right to give up their vote to whoever they want if they so wish. Power to the people. That’s what democracy means.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Yes, they can vote in Palestinian elections, but they will still live under a brutal military occupation, without a sovereign state.

      and yes, keep up the “treason” narrative. this will keep any moderate person away from you guys, which is good.

      Reply to Comment
    4. The Trespasser

      They hope to provoke dialogue.

      Good.

      However there is one problem.

      As for a tango, it takes two for a dialogue.
      One party is obvious – the state of Israel.
      Who is the other party?
      Fatah? Hamas? Islamic Jihad?

      Reply to Comment
      • Mohammad Khatib

        This is absolutely beautiful, inspiring and touching. I absolutely love the dialogues happening around it and hope more and more would join in and act on this.

        I know both parts would have different conflicts in their heads but you have to start somewhere and this is a beautiful way to ease the feeling of both people thinking there’s no friends on the other side of the wall. By giving up their votes Israelis are showing that they are acknowledging something is wrong and Palestinians rights are taken away from them and by accepting the vote Palestinians are friending their counter part in Israel and knowing that they care.

        You guys are awesome!

        Reply to Comment
      • trj

        Whose dancing? Look up the word “military occupation” if you have a second. You might be amazed to learn that being an occupying power carries all sorts of obligations. (Seemed like a good idea at the time, though, right?)

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Who is talking?

          Military occupation does not require dialogue of any kind whatsoever.

          Neither is it required by the international law that the occupier lets occupied elect parties it the occupied government.

          Anyhow, people who are voting for communist parties are a brain-damaged (literally) minority. They all could as well jump off the high cliff – it won’t matter.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            *occupier government

            Reply to Comment
          • Trj

            Your comment betrays that you believe the organisers are trying to “provoke dialogue” between representatives of the state of Israel and some representative of Palestinians – rather than, say, between groups of Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants of the region. (Upon reading this, you may have just abandoned that obviously unfounded belief.) Beyond pointing out that fairly obvious oversight, your remarks are beneath response.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Your comment betrays that you believe the organisers are trying to “provoke dialogue” between representatives of the state of Israel and some representative of Palestinians – rather than, say, between groups of Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants of the region.

            Now that’s a huge chunk of nonsense.

            On too many levels.

            You don’t even understand the the story is not about Jews/non-Jews but rather Israelis and Palestinians.

            Reply to Comment
      • Woody

        Israel is a party? Wow, that’s why so many people don’t want to vote in Israeli elections – it’s a one-party system, huh?

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Parties are not necessarily political, you moron.

          par·ty
          [pahr-tee] Show IPA noun, plural par·ties, adjective, verb, par·tied, par·ty·ing.
          noun
          1. a social gathering, as of invited guests at a private home, for conversation, refreshments, entertainment, etc.: a cocktail party.

          2. a group gathered for a special purpose or task: a fishing party; a search party.

          3. a detachment, squad, or detail of troops assigned to perform some particular mission or service.

          4. a group of persons with common purposes or opinions who support one side of a dispute, question, debate, etc.

          5. a group of persons with common political opinions and purposes organized for gaining political influence and governmental control and for directing government policy: the Republican party; the Democratic party.

          Jeez, mondoweiss folk are really the most problematic.

          Reply to Comment
    5. BOOZ

      How so nice of them to offer their votes to Palestinians whose dearest desire is to see them out. The best they could do for their new friends would be in fact to pack up and never be seen again in Palestine. They will sure feel good about themselves.

      Morons.

      Reply to Comment
    6. owainglyndwr1416

      What is being Jewish or being born a Jew ? According to an Israeli Rabbi he said it does not matter if that Jew was an Atheist; All that counts is he is Jewish.. That is an interesting comment in light of the deportations of Non Jews solely for preserving the Jewishness of Israel .. There is no doubt therefore that the Jewish are a distinctive race by their own admission.. Let me put that into context, in other words the Jewish state would be equivalent to calling England a “White” state for anyone born English no matter if they are Christians would have their state protect their racial identity and the Black English would be treated like the Ethiopian Jews and non English would serve their White masters like slaves.. No wonder there are many who refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as they see the obvious racism..

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        You are confused.

        The article is about Palestinian Arabs who are obviously not allowed to vote in Israel. They have their own governments in WB and Gaza and should be voting for them.

        > the Jewish state would be equivalent to calling England a “White” state for anyone born English no matter if they are Christians would have their state protect their racial identity and the Black English would be treated like the Ethiopian Jews and non English would serve their White masters like slaves

        You have a very perverted understanding what actually means “Jewish State” or for that matter what is the real status of Ethiopian Jews in Israel.

        Reply to Comment
        • sh

          And you have a perverted idea of what the word government means.

          Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            An irrelevant comment. As usual.

            Reply to Comment
          • sh

            a) A government has to be able to govern directly rather than with permission from the oppressive regime that surrounds it.
            b) It needs to be elected.

            When was the last time elections were held in the PA? When was the last time elections were held in Gaza? Every how many years are elections supposed to take place? Whose permission needs to be granted before they can be? The government of both Gaza and the West Bank is Israel. And that’s where they should be voting.

            It’s high time the Trespasser justified his opinions with replies that consist of more than the words “irrelevant” and “lies”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Vittorio

            Lies.

            The Palestinians never sought, nor do they need Israel’s permission to hold elections.

            Not to mention that if they WOULD want to hold elections (which they don’t), why would Israel object?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >>a) A government has to be able to govern directly rather than with permission from the oppressive regime that surrounds it.

            Not necessarily.

            Ex. Israel is in no way interferes with Palestinian authorities’ ability to fix the water system, however nearly 50% of all supplied water is lost due to outdated pipes and such.

            Obviously, it pays much better to blame Zionists for water shortages than to increase the supply twofold simply by fixing the bloody pipes.

            >b) It needs to be elected.

            Not necessarily as well.
            There are numerous ways to form a government.

            >When was the last time elections were held in the PA?

            What type of elections? Presidential? Legislative? Clarify your question.

            >When was the last time elections were held in Gaza? Every how many years are elections supposed to take place? Whose permission needs to be granted before they can be?

            Now, that’s nice chunk of top grade nonsense.
            You are holding Israel responsible for there was no elections in Gaza for 8 years.

            Hamas obviously has nothing to do with it.

            >The government of both Gaza and the West Bank is Israel. And that’s where they should be voting.

            I have to agree with you on this one.
            The problem is that Palestinians themselves had chosen to follow Arafat into an independent Palestinian state.
            After the Six Day war the One State Solution seemed like the only one possible outcome.

            All Palestinians were issued Israeli IDs, industrial zones were established and the annexation was on the way, which means that entire Arab population of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza strip was about to receive Israeli citizenship within 10-20 years time frame.

            Palestinians chose for their own government and it’s their collective blame that their elected leaders were not able to achieve a viable state.

            >It’s high time the Trespasser justified his opinions with replies that consist of more than the words “irrelevant” and “lies”.

            Of course. But it won’t do you much good.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mahmoud

            >>It’s high time the Trespasser justified his opinions with replies that consist of more than the words “irrelevant” and “lies”.

            >Of course. But it won’t do you much good.

            And another non-brainer reply by our right-winger moron.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            You’ve missed the entire answer, my retarded fried.

            Re-read the post once again, yet try to actually comprehend it.

            Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            Words like moron and retarded fried (whatever that may be) are not really pleasant to read, the more so when nothing of substance is added.

            What is clear is that ellections in an occupied West Bank territory have less value than within Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            *friend.

            >What is clear is that ellections in an occupied West Bank territory have less value than within Israel.

            And elections in free Cuba have much less value than elections in US.

            So what?

            P.S.
            Oh, I forgot – there is no elections in Cuba. Bloody commies.

            Elections in free Honduras have much less value than elections in US.

            So what?

            Reply to Comment
          • Friedrich

            Well, the Palestinians have just slightly fewer advantages than the Israelis where the maintenance of infrastructure is concerned. I’m talking, of course, about the 6 billion dollars a year in aid that my country gives Israel for no reason better than the fact that Israel has a perversely influential lobbying organization.

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            You have a perverted idea of what the word “government” means. Seriously. A government is not a state; the two are very different. Nor does government require elections. The PA is a government in the full sense of the word. The fact that it isn’t sovereign is totally beside the point.

            As the Occupying Power, Israel was under no obligation to allow any Palestinian self-government at all. It did, as part of the Oslo agreement. But the idea of allowing an occupied population to vote in the Occupying Power’s own elections is absurd.

            Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            “occupied population to vote in the Occupying Power’s own elections is absurd.”

            Less absurd than 45+ years of occupation, you cannot deny voting rights forever. Actually the Palestinian refugees could also be allowed to vote for the Knesset.

            Reply to Comment
    7. Vittorio

      What a stupid idea.

      The people who will give up their vote represent what minute percentage of Israeli voters? I won’t even guess.

      Moreover, if they would not have given up their votes, they would have voted for the same parties anyway, Hadash, Tibi’s party etc.

      By the way, it is a great testament to Israeli democracy that Israel has those Arab centric parties in the elections.

      Contrast this to the choices available to Palestinians. The PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad. How many Jewish centric parties? None, zilch, nada, zip.

      You are a laugh a minute Ami.

      Chao …

      Reply to Comment
      • Oriol2

        Well, a sizable minority of Israeli citizens are Arabs, so it makes sense that there are “Arab centered parties”. I am not sure it is the best option, but it makes sense, anyway. But who would vote for “Jewish centered parties” in the territory more or less governed by the Palestinian authority? Perhaps the settlers would like to have double nationality -Israeli and Palestinian- and vote in both elections? Perhaps in a future two-state arrangement, if it comes to be -which is rather dubious-, but undoubtedly not now.

        Reply to Comment
        • Arieh

          Hey Oriol2

          Have you dver asked yourself why there are only a handful of Jews living in some Arab countries and no Jews in most other Arab countries?

          Reply to Comment
    8. Aaron Gross

      This is horrible for the Israeli right! Just imagine how many of these votes given to Palestinians would have otherwise gone to Likud-Beitenu, the Habayit Hayehudi, etc.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Aaron Gross

      Wish I could delete the comment I posted above. On second thought – no sarcasm – this is a very good idea. It’s a good gesture from the Israeli Jewish left to the Palestinians, two groups that don’t always get along together as well as they might. It’s respectful and not condescending. The publicity is icing on the cake, but mostly it’s a good intramural gesture.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Like.

        Reply to Comment
    10. Shelly

      I think it’s a great idea too – especially if you live near Berlin. (Note: Dror Dayan).

      Reply to Comment
    11. Jill

      Just when you think stupid Israeli leftists can’t get any stupider, they do.

      I suppose there’s a lesson in there SOMEWHERE!!!

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        A lesson learned many years ago.

        The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.
        -Voltaire

        Said above applies to everyone of course – leftists, rightist and liberal centrists alike.

        Reply to Comment
    12. sh

      I think that this idea is great, love it. It’s much better than not voting, which I understand quite a few Israelis envisaged. And it’s very moving too.

      Reply to Comment
      • Vittorio

        “And its very moving too”

        Yes, my lips are trembling. LOL. Very moving too :)

        Reply to Comment
    13. This is a work of subversive beauty and humanity at its artistic best.
      Profound Respect.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Shahid

      Just 3 Jews out of 5 million?

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Apparently very few people can trust claims like “You are not a democracy if you occupy another people.”

        Reply to Comment
    15. Frances Rifkin

      All support to those doing this! Having reluctantly visited earlier this year after many years of chosen absence, I feel the urgency of the situation is unparalleled. A land of injustice and un-freedom. All support!!

      Reply to Comment
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