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Ballots of Color:
What's Wrong With This Election?

Oz Shelach 
27 Jan. 2001 

It may seem strange. A significant number of voters in Israel harbor enough resistance to the political system to cast a blank ballot in the election. The system, trying to prevent such a subversive display of its own irrelevance, has decided to discard blank ballots by counting them with the "faulty ballots." It tells the voters: if you cannot choose between Sharon and Barak, the fault with you. It may be a new experience - to be called "faulty", to have one's voice silenced, erased from the statistics, from reality - but it can help us better understand the system. This election is what elections in Israel have always been.  

It's a game we play among ourselves, we the Jewish citizens of Israel.  The goal of the game is to enhance our identity as good  (democratic)  followers  (of  a social order).While the incumbent general is responsible for the massacre of hundreds in the last four months only, the contesting general has not committed war-crimes since the early 80's in Lebanon. The contestant promises that only he will bring Peace, while the incumbent, even as he orders executions without a trial, actually makes the the heads of the Palestinian Authority  "negotiate" a so-called "agreement." The deal is this: the candidates pretend to aspire for Peace, thereby making their voters feel better. The voters do need an alibi.  We all know what is going to happen, whichever candidate is elected. The voters, for their part, support the regime by helping the process seem legitimate. We get to choose who will order  to kill Palestinians in our names.

Being silenced may be  new to Jewish voters, but it is not a novelty in our regime. 2 million Palestinians under direct military occupation are excluded from the elections, they were never given the right to vote.  Barak threatens 1 million Palestinians inside1948 Israel, voting citizens, that if they don't vote for him, Sharon will be even more murderous. This is the choice offered to them. Needless (?) to say, millions of Palestinians have been refugees for the last 52 years and have no voice in making the decision who will run their country. 

Nothing  legitimates  their  policies of  murder (and robbery,  and house demolition, and orchard uprooting,and torture, and deportation, and maiming, and arrests without trial, and land grab, and shelling, and lying). No majority can mandate war crimes. The choice between Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak is not a democratic choice. 

This is why we must vote NO! NO to pretend-election, NO to murderer candidates, NO to the racist regime.

The ballots presented here are anything but "blank." They are full of expression and cannot be misunderstood. Instead of the"petek lavan" (literally a 'white note' in hebrew) we present an array of colors. If  you  were planning to cast a blank ballot, have a look at this Ballot Gallery,  choose one you like, and use it on February 6th. Print many copies and give them to your friends, leave copies inside the polling station, other people may want to use them too. Better still: make your own card and put whatever you like on it. The Ballot Gallery will gladly host a digital copy.


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