Saturday, January 15, 2005

Israelis Could Rock the Vote in Upcoming Iraqi Elections

This is a bizarre angle on the Iraqi elections, which I have not seen covered in the MSM here...(this is from the Jerusalem Post). I had mixed reactions to this: I think it is great that Christians and Jews can officially vote in the Iraqi elections (a hopeful sign of progress), and that they are allowing remote voting around the world (I hadn't heard that! MSM only talks about the infeasibility of elections inside the country). I also did not know there were so many Israelis with ethnic ties to Iraq (I knew there were some, but I didn't know it was this many). But I think it is terrible that the Netherlands has a voting station and Jerusalem does not. It's hard to interpret this as anything but anti-Israel and antisemitic. Israel is the only established democracy in the Middle East, and the Iraqis living there should really have something to contribute to the establishment of a similar democracy in their original homeland. And it's fascinating to think that Israel could be a major voting block in this landmark election, if there was a voting station in Jerusalem. This is from The Post:

Israeli descendants of Iraqi Jews are being offered the possibility of voting in
the first free democratic elections in Iraq, the Independent Electoral
Commission for Iraq (ICI) has announced. The elections, which are due to take
place from January 28 to January 30 at 14 polling stations in Iraq and around
the world, are open to all ethnic Iraqis, the ICI said....Israeli turnout is
likely to be low – the closest polling station to Israel is in Amman, Jordan.

Some 130,000 Iraqi Jews immigrated to Israel after the establishment of
the state. Today, there at least 75,000 Iraqi-born Israeli citizens but the
number of eligible voters – including their children – is much higher. Iraq's
Out-of-Country Voting (OCV) committee decided not to open a polling station in
Israel, whose population of eligible voters is much greater than other countries
with polling stations, for example, the Netherlands.

Asked why Israel doesn't have a polling station, [Farid] Ayar, whose organization [ICI] is the independent body of Iraqi citizens that determined the stipulations for voter eligibility and the location of the polls, said it "is because Iraq has no relations with this state, and we don't recognize this state." . . . More details may be found on www.ccicoa.org.