An American-Israeli filmmaker is trying to counter prejudices against Barack Obama that would put the Republicans in a more favourable light with the Jewish electorate. According to her short video, many Israelis don't believe the tattle, and support Obama.
The clip was created by music-video director Alma Har'el and Hollywood producer Boaz Yakin. It's geared towards Jewish Americans and aims to counteract the "covert Muslim" hearsay and rumours about Obama's programme for the Middle East. The film presents both prominent and ordinary Israelis who explain why Israel would benefit from having Obama as American president. The film also pokes fun at those troubled by Obama's middle name, "Hussein", pointing out that not only is Obama not a Muslim, but that "some of his best friends and advisors are Jewish".
"Israelis For Obama" posted on YouTube 22 September 08.
Alma Har'el is the Israeli filmmaker who produced the video. She's based in Los Angeles.
The video is meant to show that there are a lot of people in Israel who believe that both intelligent diplomacy and a strong responsibility towards Israel's security are things that Obama will bring to the table. We need a lot of hope over there and a big change in the general mindset. We wanted these Israeli voices to be heard."
Blogger "Neo Neocon" is a Republican convert from New England.
Shmuel Rosner is a columnist based in Tel Aviv. He writes for rosnersdomain.com.
However, this short segment is also somewhat misleading: finding five or six or even 20 Israelis supporting Obama is easy, but the truth of the matter is quite simple - those are mostly left-wing Israelis, representing a small minority of the Jewish population. As far as we know, a majority of Israelis, to the extent that they follow the race, support McCain and not Obama - and I suspect this will be a significant majority. Note this: Israelis, generally speaking, DID like President Bush. Having 'four more years of Bush' is not necessarily a threat to most of them. Even more so - the Israeli establishment is overwhelmingly pro-McCain. The policies he supports, and his general political tendencies resonate with Israel's way of thinking about the world much more than Obama's supposedly more naive beliefs."
Joel Schalit is an Israeli editor and writer living in San Francisco.
I can't think of a better airing of this concern than watching videos like this Obama advert. Aimed at American jews, who, throughout the presidential election season, have been repeatedly told by Republican campaign operatives that the Democratic presidential candidate is 'bad for Israel', as partisan as this video clearly it is, it does accurately represent the increasingly broad support that the Illinois Senator has amongst Israelis. Given how hard conservative forces in the US have worked to foster the illusion that Israel is the world's largest Republican voting bloc, when viewed in context, this video's significance becomes that much clearer.
Irrespective of their purpose, documents like these provide a rare glimpse of the ideological diversity that characterizes Israeli politics. Because Israel occupies such a significant place in US politics, the tendency amongst Americans is to consistently oversimplify what Israelis are supposed to want from the US: more security guarantees, more weaponry, more assurances that Jerusalem will remain Israel's undivided capital, etc. Watching this video makes me wonder if perhaps that tendency says more about what Washington wants from Israel than vice versa. Here's to seeing more complex portraits of Israeli politics in America."
Comedian Sarah Silverman takes on the topic of Jews voting, or not, as the case may be, for Obama.