Raw footage of young American Jews making cretinous and racist comments about President Obama, has been made public by Max Blumenthal, a correspondent for The Daily Beast in Israel. The kids, mostly in Israel for a gap or study abroad year, feed the camera lines like “white power, fuck the niggers,” and “I don’t know politics, but he’s a sh*thead. Anyone who wants to take away my gun rights is an assh*le and deserves to get shot”. A guy wearing a chai necklace calls Obama a “p*ssy”, and “fagg*t”, and threatens to come to the White House and “tea-bag” him, if he “doesn’t change the world anytime soon.” Perhaps most poignantly, a young man with a pixie cut says directly into the camera; “I want p*ssy.”
The notorious proponents of censorship at the Huffington Post removed the video from the site after Blumenthal posted it because it had “no news value” and “did not move the conversation forward.” I suppose — theoretically — it’s possible that the editors didn’t think it a worthy piece of journalism. But really, they are a prudish bunch at HuffPo, so we just don’t know.
Though downtown Jerusalem is known for its reputable hookah bars, maybe HuffPo felt a different venue would have been more appropriate to probe the young people about politics. It’s been over a year since I was a Hebrew U. student in Israel, but I think it still stands that if Blumenthal and his partner Joseph Dana wanted a more representative (and articulate) cross-section of foreign students, they could have gone to the Hebrew U. cafeteria during the school day.
In response to those who entirely missed the value of the piece, Dana issued this statement:
It’s about entitlement, stupid.
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.
That is indeed shocking. Dozens of people in a city of 750,000. Dana is right, why aren’t more reporters covering this story?
I for one am glad that Blumenthal and Dana forced us to confront the sense of entitlement that pervades political dialogue on Israel. Foreigners from high socioeconomic backgrounds have no business having opinions on the Middle East. If we allow that, we’d only be lending legitimacy to people like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Defenders of a free press must rally around Blumenthal and Dana. We can’t allow them to be yet more sacrificial lambs on the altar of decency — like Joe Francis.