Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

One Voice is a project lead by my friend Daniel Lubetzky. He is doing a lot of cutting edge work bringing peace to the Middle East particularly by trying to amplify the moderate voices of the people in Palestine and Israel. We have been bugging him to start a blog and he did. He's given us a scoop on his new blog.

The first-ever Get-Out-The-Vote Campaign in the Palestinian Authority, conducted by OneVoice-Palestine, is about to release a Public Service Announcement that will turn heads: it juxtaposes Sheikh Taysir al Tamimi, the Chief Palestinian Islamic Justice, and Father Attallah Hanna, the Patriarchite of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, with Richard Gere, the film star and humanitarian. They all encourage the Palestinian people to go out and vote. Sheikh Tamimi calls it a "religious and a national commandment" to participate in the elections.

The 1 minute ad will air on Palestinian National TV as well as on local Palestinian stations during the week prior to the Presidential elections.


I want to hear that all of these efforts will make a difference. I refuse to believe that peace is not a possibility in the Middle East!

Richard Gere? Kudos! Now, what is W gonna do?

I digress... I'm feeling a little snarky.

I have hope for the Middle East. And I will meditate on it. But it seems like there is a lot going on in the world right now and I am not sure I have any confidence in our leaders to keep any of the balls in the air for very much longer.

Great for Gere. Much better than making movies! Happy that some celebrities are using their star power for better good than making $$ for the paparazzi and gossip zines...

Gere is..

I appreciate the efforts of both your friend and Mr. Gere, but I'm a bit concerned about his choice of co-stars...
Joining Gere in the announcement are Sheik Taissir Tamimi, the head of the Islamic court in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Atallah Hanna, the spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.
One of Gere’s co-stars, Sheikh Tamimi, was quoted in 1994 as saying: “the Jews are destined to be persecuted, humiliated and tortured forever, and it is a Muslim duty to see to it that they reap their due. No petty arguments must be allowed to divide us. Where Hitler failed, we must succeed.”

A bit disconcerting, no?


Dear Richard

Next time you think you can speak for the entire world I would humbly ask you to rephrase it to "I speak for the entire world minus 2. My wife and I are capable to speak for ourselves.

Richard Gere does not speak for me, or my family. The other parties joining with Gere in this announcement have made terrible, horrible remarks against the Jewish people. PEACE? How can one speak of peace when making evil comments about others? I think not!! I feel too that this "One Voice" mentality is nothing more than a push for a one world religion. Were is a persons freedom in that? Point- there isn't.

Darwin, the complaints about Sheikh Tamimi are centered on two quotes from 10 years ago. In fact, he has been a force against Hamas. I know him personally and can assure you he is NOT the terrorist or fundamentalist that others make him out to be.

MOST IMPORTANT, ISRAELIS and ISRAELI MEDIA that know this first hand have respect for Sheikh Tamimi and covered this PSA with respect and enthusiasm because they know it HELPS push democracy.

I am the son of a Holocaust survivor who as a child had to endure pains in Dachau. I know from what I was taught that the way to prevent future holocausts is to actively fight to change things, and not just to watch and complain.

Thus, when Richard Gere and OneVoice (of which I am a part of) work to bring in to the fore nationalist hawks and succeed in getting them to be a part of a move towards democratization, it is a positive step for all except the extremists. Keep in mind that Sheikh Tamimi is urging Palestinians to vote in direct contravention to Hamas's call to boycott the elections!

The Palestinian Authority certainly has a long way to go before it builds a vibrant democracy. THAT IS WHY WE ARE DOING WHAT WE ARE DOING. TO HELP GET THERE, which will benefit Palestinians as well as the world.

And Palestinians are very thankful for this. You will be seeing this in the news soon as they are indignated at the distortion of their appreciation for Gere's support.

Erika, OneVoice is actually an unprecedented joining of forces of extremely diverse perspectives with extremely different moral narratives and beliefs, representing a spectrum of parties from left to right, from Palestinian to Israeli, from Democrat to Israeli. To get an idea of the diversity check out our Board at

What is remarkable is that all these people finally are standing up as OneVoice against violent extremism and towards non-violent conflict resolution. The movement is dedicated to mobilize ordinary citizens once and for all to wrest back the agenda from violent extremists.

Richard Gere is very thoughtful that he took the time and the effort to encourage the Palestinians to go out and make a difference with their votes.
Unlike any other Arab countries in the region, the Palestinians are going to elect their own leader like they did in the past when they elected Arafat

On behalf of the world? I never got the memo. Did you?
How very bold and narcissistic to believe that you can speak on behalf of the world. Hopefully Mr. Gere was only reading the text like most celebs do on these PSA's.

I'm kind of wondering why Richard Gere is in the commercial. Do Palestinians even know who he is? I mean, how would you feel if you had some unknown foreigner telling you what to do? I understand it's an important message, but it seems a bit obtrusive. Very perplexing in my opinion.

Daniel, thanks for your response and your efforts towards a sustainable peace in the region. I have to say that I'm not convinced by the suggestion that because it was 10 years ago when he said "Where Hitler failed, we must succeed" that it's all water under the bridge. Has he gone on record with an apology for that statement? If not, I find it difficult to understand why anyone would associate with him... in my universe you either withdraw and apologize for such a statement or I want nothing to do with you.

Again, thanks for the response and your efforts.