Israelis use Facebook to lampoon sham democracy
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
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 - guardian.co.uk,
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
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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