Israelis use Facebook to lampoon sham democracy

Tony Gosling tony at
Tue Jan 22 00:29:36 GMT 2013

Israelis use Facebook to deliver poke at democracy in elections
Real Democracy initiative matches Israelis 
willing to 'donate' their votes to Palestinians 
who decide how vote should be cast
Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem -, 
Thursday 17 January 2013 15.15 GMT
For millions, it's a way of idling away time, 
catching up on gossip, making social arrangements 
or playing FarmVille. But Facebook is 
increasingly being used as a political tool, and 
a group of Israelis are using the social 
networking site to challenge conventional democracy in next week's election.
The initiative, called Real Democracy, has 
allowed hundreds of Israelis to "donate" their 
votes to Palestinians as a symbolic protest at 
what they perceive as a lack of democracy.
It matches Israeli voters who are willing to give 
up their vote with Palestinians who decide how – 
or whether – the vote should be cast. The 
organisers say it is "an act of civil 
disobedience against 
 the undemocratic nature of 
the Israeli elections 
 elections of a government 
which controls four million Palestinians without a voting right".
Shimri Zameret, one of those behind the scheme, 
hopes that the numbers participating will be in 
the thousands by polling day. The aim is to give 
Palestinians a potential say not just in the next 
Israeli government but also in its "de facto 
control over the United Nations security council".
The idea came from a similar campaign in the UK 
in 2010, when Britons "donated" their votes to 
citizens of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Ghana. 
"Politics transcends borders but governments are 
national. This is an attempt to create a new form of politics," said Zameret.
One of those who has offered her vote to a 
Palestinian is Aya Shoshan, 28, who works for an 
NGO in Tel Aviv. "I posted on Facebook that I am 
an Israeli citizen who would like to pass on my 
vote to a Palestinian living under Israeli rule," 
she said. "Giving my vote is a symbolic act 
Palestinians are not part of this democracy, then neither am I."
Shoshan is now in discussions with a Palestinian 
originally from Hebron but now living in the US. 
"He hasn't made up his mind how to use my vote," she said.
Ayah Bashir, 24, a university teacher in Gaza, 
has asked her Israeli counterpart, Dror Dayan, to 
boycott the election on her behalf. "I call for 
boycotting Israel at all levels, not just the 
election but academic, cultural and sporting 
boycotts," she said. "The Israeli system is an 
apartheid system, and the Israeli Knesset 
[parliament] is a Zionist and racist institution."
Bassem Aramin, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem 
whose 10-year-old daughter Abir was killed by an 
Israeli soldier six years ago, is supporting the 
initiative. "I have no control over the Israeli 
government who sent the soldier [who killed my 
daughter]," he said. "I live under occupation. We 
Palestinians have no vote or veto in the UN 
security council or the government that controls us. That is undemocratic."

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