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In the Name of God بسم الله

Americans Vote Yes for Equality

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Americans Vote Yes for Equality Between Jews and Non-Jews Inside Israel

Election day in the United States, 2008, will be remembered in most history books as the day Americans elected the first African-American as president. But it also deserves to go down in history for another reason. It was the first day when Americans rejected the instructions of their pro-Israel politicians and newspapers and instead voted for the principle that non-Jews should be equal with Jews under the law inside Israel, and not discriminated against as they are today in apartheid Israel.

The Somerville Divestment Project (SDP) placed Question 4 on the ballot in two state representative districts, one in Somerville and the other in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The question asked, "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a non-binding resolution calling on the federal government to support the right of all people, including non-Jewish Palestinian citizens of Israel, to live free from laws that give more rights to people of one religion than another?" The "Yes" votes outnumbered the "No" votes 9,100 to 5,542 in Somerville, and 9,637 to 3,650 in Cambridge. If Obama had won by this kind of a margin it would have been declared a Super-Landslide!

Not a single politician or newspaper supported Question 4. On the contrary, the Somerville Journal reported in its election week edition that, "The City of Somerville, including all city aldermen, does not support questions 4 and 5, said spokesman Tom Champion. The mayor of Somerville also opposed Question 4 and the so-called "Progressive" Democrats of Somerville were silent (apparently supporting equal rights is not part of the "progressive" agenda.) The only other Somerville newspaper, the Somerville News, editorialized, "The Somerville Divestment Project has divided Somerville residents by bringing up far-away, world conflicts in a municipal context. Reject the tactics of the Somerville Divestment project and vote no on Question 4." Apparently the voters saw things differently.

In 2006 the SDP placed two questions (5 and 6) similar to Question 4 on the ballot in Somerville. One called for Somerville to divest from Israel and the other called for supporting the right of all refugees, including Palestinian refugees, to return to their homeland. The Boston Globe, both Somerville newspapers and the Israeli Consul for New England told people to "vote no" on both questions. Mayor Curtatone, Congressman Capuano, and both candidates for governor— Deval Patrick (now the Democratic Party governor) and Kerry Healy the Republican—jointly produced glossy mass mailings and signboards with photographs of all four politicians saying "We Stand With Israel, Vote No on Questions 5 and 6." The unanimity of all these "respectable" leaders saying "vote no" made many voters wonder if perhaps the SDP's ballot questions that seemed so reasonable on the surface might actually reflect some kind of bad hidden agenda. And yet despite this intense "vote no" campaign, the "Yes" vote was 31% for divestment and 45% for supporting the right of return of Palestinians. Tuesday's vote was therefore not the first time voters rejected the mainstream politicians to support human rights for Palestinians.

The law prohibits placing the same question on the ballot twice in a row, which is one reason why Question 4 focused on apartheid inside Israel this time.

How Did Somerville Voters Respond to the Stance of Politicians and Editors?

Voters watched three presidential debates in which the two candidates offered unconditional support of Israel's apartheid enterprise. Yet instead of toeing the party line (both parties' line!), voters looked at the facts, they read the SDP's Question 4 brochure (we distributed 15,000 of them, reaching nearly every household in the Somerville district) that said "Apartheid Is Inside Israel, Not Just the Occupied Territories" and that presented copious examples of specific Israeli apartheid laws, and then they chose to side with justice and equality.

Somerville and Cambridge voters are to be congratulated for being the first voters in the United States to clearly stand up for equal rights for Palestinians and oppose Israeli apartheid.

The Significance of This Vote is Enormous

The significance of this vote is enormous. It demonstrates that Americans support the principle of equality, and believe that Israel is wrong in discriminating against non-Jews under the law. It shows that Americans do not want their government to support this discrimination inside Israel, regardless of whether Israel is "our ally" or a "Jewish state." It shows, in other words, that when given a chance to choose between the principle of equality versus the Zionist principle of inequality (that Israel must be a "Jewish" state in which the sovereign authority is "the Jewish people" and not all citizens equally) then Americans choseequality, even when their politicians and newspapers tell them not to.

Pro-Apartheid Zionist Forces Tried to Block the Ballot Question in September

Zionist influence on the American public depends on preventing Americans from understanding clearly that Zionism conflicts with the principle of equality, and preventing them from ever having an opportunity to express their choice.

This is why the pro-Zionist forces in Somerville hired a lawyer to try to keep Question 4 off the ballot. The lawyer wrote to the state's Attorney General that the question was pretending to be just about equality but that it was really also criticizing Israel, and that to be "fair" the question should be split into two separate questions, one about equality and the other about Israel. The Attorney General rejected this argument and replied that the question upheld a general principle and merely stated that it also applied to Israel.

What drives the Zionists crazy is that the SDP has successfully framed the debate about Israel as a question of being for or against the principle of equality. The Zionists know they can only win when the debate is framed as being for or against anti-Semitism. They are quite skilled at winning the latter, but incapable of winning the former.

Now that voters in Somerville and Cambridge have made it clear where the majority stands, pro-Israel forces are trying to put the best spin on it that they can, by denying the significance of the vote, saying things like, "Of course Question 4 won, it's just 'Mom and apple pie,'" as if affirming equality for non-Jews and Jews under the law in Israel did not constitute a scathing indictment of the entire Zionist enterprise.

Equality and Democracy are Inseparable

The SDP also placed Question 5 on the ballot in Somerville, in order to inject into the public discussion an opinion that many hold but few express out loud--that we do not have real democracy in the United States, because ordinary people have no real say in what the government does, and Big Money calls the shots. Question 5 asked, therefore, "Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a proposal to amend the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to replace the state Legislature with 100 randomly selected adult residents of the Commonwealth, each serving a one year term, to be called the Commonwealth Jury and to have all the legislative and other powers of the current Legislature? "

At first this might seem like a dramatic change, but consider that a recent University of Rhode Island poll found that 74% of Americans do not think their government should take the side of Israel in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Yet no American politician expresses this view, which illustrates just how unrepresentative our so-called "representative democracy" is. When (and only when!) the spirit of Question 5 prevails at the federal level, and ordinary Americans shape U.S. foreign policy, will it stop giving unconditional support to Israel's ethnic cleansing and apartheid laws.

This is why the fight to turn around the pro-Israel foreign policy of the United States, and the fight to win real democracy in the United States, are inseparable. The Somerville News, not surprisingly, wrote, "Vote no on Question 5 and reject this silly measure." The Somerville Journal opted to scare people into voting "No" by writing, "Question 5 attempts to overthrow state government" (as if letting ordinary people make the laws amounted to overthrowing government.) Despite the novelty of the idea and the scare tactics of the press, and despite the fact that the people who think our "representative democracy" doesn't really represent us are the people who are least likely to vote, Question 5 received a "yes" vote from 23% of the voters--3,468 people.

Somerville Divestment Project

www.divestmentproje ct.org

P.O. Box 441259 Somerville, MA 02144

Phone: 617 230-2835


Even though the Zionist victory over SDP the first two ballot questions was swift and brutal, the propaganda had minimal lingering effects. As long as SDP continued to educate people through flyering, personal conversations door to door, and holding a free film series, the population continued to get more educated on the issue. As soon as the population got more knowledge, their support for SDP did not shift. The Zionists were playing upon public ignorance with their expensive marketing campaign. They had posters of Deval Patrick (Massachusett's Obamaesque governor) and other politicians with the message, 'Stand with Israel, vote against the SDP.' Once people got beyond the brand names though, and the issue became more clear to the public, which takes time and effort, they would make the right choice on the ballot.

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