The night before Barack Obama's Cairo speech, Max Blumenthal took to the streets of Jerusalem to ask young Israelis and American Jews what they thought of Obama. Blumenthal calls the results "the most shocking footage I have ever filmed."
Blumenthal, an American documentary film director and writer, is certainly right, the video is shocking, but not so much for what is said, though it's all definitely quite jarring to hear, but more for who is saying it. You just don't expect (At least we don't!) young, educated Israelis and American Jews to be saying things on camera like "white power, fuck the niggers" and "anyone who wants to take away my gun rights is an asshole and deserves to get shot" and "he's a Muslim for sure, he's like a terrorist." You'd expect them to be a bit more enlightened, but we suppose that this certainly proves that ignorance truly knows no borders, for what follows in this probably worse than any of the Youtube videos of red state right-wingers spouting ignorance to emerge during the election last year or after any of the recent tax day tea parties held around the country.
Max and I went on to the streets of Jerusalem at ten o'clock on a Wednesday to ascertain the feelings of the young population about Obama's upcoming speech in Cairo. As is often the case, the streets of central Jerusalem were not filled with native Israelis but American Jews. Doubtlessly anyone who has visited Jerusalem has encountered the droves of American Jewish kids that are sent to Israel to study for a period of time from Teaneck or Westchester. We asked people a simple question, "What do you think of Obama and Israel?" Most of the people that we talked to were dual American Israeli citizens. The answers in this video reflect the education and worrisome perspectives that many American Jews harbor towards Israeli politics. The sense of entitlement that the American Jewish community has when it comes to Israeli policy is on full raw display in the words of these young adults.
Based on our interviews these people were from high socio economic backgrounds and had developed thoughts about current Israeli politics. The question is why more journalists are not covering this story. All you have to do is walk the streets of Jerusalem and you will find dozens of people that harbor the same beliefs. As a resident of Jerusalem, I can say that the people represented in this video are not members of a fringe group or simply drunk college kids. These people reflect the sentiments shared by many people in this country and this city. These people and their families are the core of the opposition to meaningful peace between Israel and her neighbors. This is what Obama is up against.
We can't help but wonder if any of these people bothered to watch Obama's address this morning.
(Ed. note—-This should go without saying, but the drunken, misguided opinions of a few should not be used to pass judgment on a large swath of Jewish/Israeli young people, just as it shouldn't on all Southerners when similar videos emerge from below the Mason/Dixon line from time to time. Also, we've emailed Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Dana with some questions about the video, but being it's the middle of the night and all, we haven't heard back from either of them yet. We'll update the post when and if we do.)