Facebook democracy: Israelis ‘share’ votes with Palestinians
19 Jan, 2013 00:20
In a move of high-tech civil disobedience, thousands of Israeli citizens are donating their right to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections to their Palestinian neighbors via Facebook.
The political initiative, called Real Democracy, so far has over 1,400 followers and is allowing Israelis to "donate" their votes for the Palestinian cause, giving their second-class citizen compatriots an opportunity to participate in general elections on Tuesday.The founders of the initiative call their campaign “an act of civil disobedience against … the undemocratic nature of Israeli elections … the election of a government which controls four million Palestinians without voting rights," quotes The Guardian. The goal is to take the action a step further and allow Palestinians a potential say in the Israeli government’s “de facto control over the United Nations Security Council.”Around a one and a half million Palestinians have Israeli citizenship, the other roughly two and a half million living in the country fall under the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and of Hamas in Gaza – and do not have an opportunity to vote in the elections that ultimately influences their lives.Participants in the campaign say they are willing to go to the polling stations on January 22 to cast their votes according to the decision of the Palestinian to whom they gave their vote.In his video post supporting the campaign, Israeli Moriel Rothman says he is “ashamed” of how the Israeli government treats the Palestinian population, surrendering his vote, saying, “I will vote the way you tell me to vote.”Haim Barack Cohen, a lawyer from Tel Aviv, urged in his post the destruction of all barriers, giving up his right to vote so that the Palestinian people can have “equal rights.”One of the men behind the movement, Shimri Zameret, says real democracy should rise above borders. “Politics transcends borders but governments are national. This is an attempt to create a new form of politics,” Zameret was quoted by The Guardian as saying.The Real Democracy movement follows a similar model, initiated in 2010 in the UK, when a number of Britons agreed to donate their votes to minorities in the country.Israel will hold parliamentary elections on January 22. The latest polls show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bloc ahead of their center-left opponents, with the right claiming 63 seats against 57 for the moderates, according to Dialogue service poll numbers.