Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just warned that Israeli Arab voters are being brought to the polling booth by V15 (Victory 2015) and other NGOS funded from abroad. He said: “We do not have NGOs. We do not have V15.”
V15 has been organized by Jeremy Bird, who was President Obama’s national campaign field director in 2012. According to lawyer and journalist Lori Lowenthal Marcus, this funding runs afoul of American tax laws for not-for-profit organizations. Marcus and others allege that funding for V15 includes State Department monies.
Netanyahu is “very worried” about these reports of busing Arabs to the voting booths. “If we do not wake up, if we do not bring everyone out… a left-wing government will be established,” he warned.
According to former American Navy Lt. Commander, J.J. Dyer:
It’s quintessential Bird to pick a high-payoff constituency, one he expects to be responsive to having its vote shaped, and go into overdrive getting it registered, motivated, and to the polls. The incurious public doesn’t see the deliberately demographic aspect of this, but it’s in the planning documents that bloggers turn up. In “Turn Texas Blue” in 2014, it was Hispanics. In GOTV Ohio in 2010 and 2012, it was blacks. In Illinois and Pennsylvania in 2012, it was blacks.
Often, Muslim-world votes are fixed, corrupt, and dangerous to undertake. Voting booths are heavily guarded by the military. Think about voting in Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan. Think about Syria— where President Bashar al-Assad was re-elected in 2014 in an election that was a “foregone conclusion.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called this election “a big Zero.”
Yes, this is the same Kerry who has now stated his willingness to negotiate with Al-Assad.
Those Arabs who live on the West Bank and under the control of the Palestinian Authority do not vote in Israeli elections. (The matter is complicated and best left for a discussion elsewhere.) Those Muslim Arabs who live in Gaza under Hamas’s control consider themselves “Palestinians;” Gazans live under an Islamist dictatorship and do not vote.
According to Al-Monitor, “the voting rate among Israeli Arabs has declined gradually over the years, from 90% participation in 1955 to 75% in 1999. It reached a low of just 18% in the 2001 elections (for the Prime Minister’s seat)” given the violence that occurred after Arafat launched his bloody Intifada of 2000. According to Hussein Sweidi, a senior editor of the Al Sinara newspaper, “voter apathy” among Israeli Arabs is due to “frustration with the Israeli political system” and to “a total distrust of the Arab Knesset members.”
According to Al-Monitor, “the Arab members of Knesset are… also unpopular among the Arab population, who do not perceive them as serving their constituents faithfully.”
Israel is a democracy. Arab citizens are absolutely entitled to vote. However, what is at issue is the foreign funding which has empowered a foreign entity—V15—to interference with a sovereign election for exceptionally malicious purpose and when so much is at stake such as Iran’s nuclear hegemony in the region.