'Seinfeld' Star Jason Alexander Launches Mideast Peace Plan

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Actor Jason Alexander of "Seinfeld" fame on Tuesday helped launch a grassroots peace initiative with a twist: Israelis and Palestinians are asked to vote on the terms of a future agreement via the Internet.

The "One Voice" campaign, backed by Alexander and several other Hollywood celebrities, seeks to gauge the feelings of ordinary Palestinians and Israelis on core issues in the conflict through an Internet referendum.

Computer giant IBM will analyze the results, and organizers hope a consensus will emerge despite decades of conflict.

"What this initiative wants to do is to embolden moderates on both sides," said Alexander, who played the bumbling George in the hit comedy series "Seinfeld."

Fingering a thick beard as he walked on stage at Israel's IBM headquarters, Alexander joked, "No, I'm not Hassidic. I'm unemployed."

Alexander said he first joined the campaign, after attending a gathering of One Voice organizers and other celebrity supporters at the Hollywood home of Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman.

One Voice founders, Daniel Lubetzky, an American Jewish businessman, and Mohammad Darawshe, an Israeli Arab peace activist, gave the group a presentation on the peace program.

Alexander recalled how Darawshe spoke of an evening when he was at home watching scenes of Israeli-Palestinian violence on the TV news. Darawshe's son asked his father to come outside to play, saying the news was always the same.

There and then Darawshe promised his son that the news would not always be the same.

"He spoke as a father and touched me as a father," said Alexander, who has two young sons.

Fellow actors Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston, also at that gathering, signed up to help the project as well.

The One Voice initiative asks Israeli and Palestinian respondents to accept or reject a series of statements on issues at the heart of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Among them are the necessity of an Israeli and a Palestinian state, each respecting the other and upholding human rights; the 1967 boundaries between the two as a basis for negotiation; evacuation of Jewish settlements and the cessation of terrorism.

Voting has already begun through the One Voice Web site and will begin soon at booths in universities and other public places in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

Organizers plan to present the findings to Palestinians and Israeli leaders as a document backed by broad public opinion.

At Tuesday's launch, an Israeli student leader, Sagiv Asualin, said the One Voice program differs from the recent Geneva Accord and other peace initiatives because it comes from the grass roots level.

"This allows everyone a voice in the debate," he said.

Unlike in official elections, where the voting age is 18, the One Voice poll is open to everyone older than 15.

"People of 15 and even younger are being killed on both sides, but nobody asks their opinion," Darawshe said.

On Wednesday, Alexander goes to the West Bank town of Ramallah to speak to Palestinian youths, entertainers and academics. He will not meet politicians from either side.

"I dream that in a year I could bring my sons to Israel without fear and go with them to Ramallah without fear," he said.

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