Popular Communist rapper Tamer Nafar is calling on the voting age population among Israel’s 1.7 million Arab citizens to vote in the national election tomorrow Tuesday, April 9. In an explosive song and video entitled titled Tamer Must Vote, Nafar portrays two opposing viewpoints within himself as an individual and within the Arab-Palestinian community in Israel at large, 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. Nafar comes back, rapping:
That’s how we’re built.
But it doesn’t mean that we’ll liberate Palestine.
But if our vote will erase Lieberman, 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 the homeland.
The anti-voting Nafar offers explicit 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.
Pro-voting Nafar said unity in the Arab community was necessary against the other racist and fascist 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.
MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Hadash-Ta’al list, promoted the song on Twitter on Friday. “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 Arab-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 Lieberman out of the Knesset, then it’s already worth voting,” Nafar said in a statement. “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.”