Palestinian rapper: Vote out 'the fascist'

With a new song, Tamer Nafar urges Arab turnout: 'if our vote will erase Liberman, imprison Bibi, then we're ready'

Tamer Nafar (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tamer Nafar
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Palestinian-Israeli rapper Tamer Nafar is calling on Israel’s 1.7 million Arab citizens to vote in the national election next week.
In an explosive song and video titled “Tamer Must Vote,” Nafar portrays two opposing viewpoints within the community, pitted against each other inside a boxing ring.
The pro-voting Nafar says that voting will help send Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – “the fascist” – to prison.
“The majority is racist. We’ve lost. This war isn’t mine,” counters the anti-voter. “Why should I step into a missile’s war when all I’ve got is a knife?”
Nafar comes back, rapping: “That’s how we’re built. Strong. But it doesn’t mean that we’ll liberate Palestine. But if our vote will erase Liberman, imprison Bibi, then we’re ready.”
In the song’s chorus, both Nafars sing: “The fascist goes, and everything goes/ Everything goes his way/ Either we vote/ Or end up/ Outside of the homeland.”
The anti-voting Nafar offered implicit criticism of the Israeli-Arab politicians, rapping: “Did they deal with poverty?/ Did they bring us school and jobs?/ After all, we only see them out there during elections.”
But pro-voting Nafar said unity in the Arab-Israeli sector was necessary against the other electoral forces.
“Tell Bennett, tell Shaked, that I’m not moving/ Tell Feiglin that I’m not moving/ Tell Smotrich that I’m not moving/ Tell Kahane’s cronies that I’m not moving/ I wanted to boycott but decided that I don’t want to stay outside.”
Voting rates among Israeli Arabs are significantly lower than the national average. In 2015, voter turnout overall was 72.3%, while the Statnet research institute said Arab turnout was 63.5%. In 2013, just 54% of Arab citizens voted, compared to an overall turnout of 63.2%.
Ayman Odeh, head of the Hadash-Ta’al list, promoted the song on Twitter on Thursday. The Balad Party also shared the video on its Facebook page on Thursday.
“Four years ago Liberman tried to get us out of the Knesset,” he wrote. “Now we’ll get him out. Tamer Nafar has an answer for all those who don’t want to vote.”
Nafar, who was born in Lod, is a well-known and often controversial Palestinian rapper. In 2016, he won an Ophir Award for best original music in the film Junction 48. He took the stage and recited a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, during which Culture Minister Miri Regev stormed out of the auditorium in protest. Regev has repeatedly said that Nafar’s lyrics legitimize and justify terrorism.
Junction 48, which was co-written by and stars Nafar, is currently available on Netflix. Israeli director Udi Aloni was the co-creator of both that film and Nafar’s new video.
“If our vote can help send Bibi to prison and to get Liberman out of the Knesset, then it’s already worth voting,” Nafar said in a statement Thursday. “This is our struggle and I don’t intend to give up any tool I have at my disposal. We have to overcome our apathy, not because of Israeli democracy but because of racism and apartheid.”