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WATCH: Campaign video incites against Arab Americans

The campaign to get American citizens in Israel to vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections claims it is nonpartisan, despite its candid agenda of electing the most ‘pro-Israel’ president, its refusal to divulge its donors and a campaign manager clearly identified with the right. A newly released video inciting against Arab-Americans makes it even more difficult to believe they are neutral.

As some readers may have noticed, I have been following a campaign called “iVoteIsrael,” which is essentially a well-funded nonprofit initiative lobbying American citizens living in Israel to vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections.

The Times of Israel just published an article on the campaign entitled “How nonpartisan is the campaign to encourage Israeli-Americans to vote in November?” which refers to my previous report, in which I was told by strategic campaign manager Aron Shaviv that the “[Sheldon] Adelsons of the world” fund the initiative. The article clearly shares my doubts about its nonpartisan character, highlighting the fact that staffers insist they are neutral but refuse to divulge who is funding the group, not to mention who created it.

Well, the campaign just released a new video that provides an even closer and deeper look into its political tilt:

I think it is fair to say that based on this video, the campaign cannot claim to be nonpartisan and keep a straight face. Anyone who knows a bit about the Bill Pascrell/Steven Rothman primary knows that AIPAC was involved, that it pushed hard for Rothman, and that in order to do so, it painted Pascrell as a “radical anti-Israel” candidate (though it failed due to Arab-American mobilization).

MJ Rosenberg, a well-known commentator on Israeli and American politics and former Israel staffer for Congresswoman Nita Lowey, told +972 that Pascrell is “totally pro-Israel” and that “his only sin was humanitarian concern for Gaza,” referring to Pascrell’s signing onto the Gaza 54 letter, which asked President Barack Obama to put pressure on Israel to ease the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Rosenberg wrote about the issue on his blog, explaining that the election turned into an Arab-bashing campaign due to AIPAC’s onslaught:

The issue wasn’t Israel; it was Rothman’s Arab and Muslim-baiting which offended Arab-Americans as much as Jews would be offended by an openly anti-Semitic candidate.

The video thus not-so-covertly incites against Arab Americans and while at it, reduces all American domestic affairs to the issue of Israel – and specifically, making the New Jersey 9th district elections all about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Needless to say it also makes it stance on whether Israel applies apartheid policies very clear.

Maybe the most offensive problem with the video is its hypocrisy. The video attacks Arab Americans for “flex[ing] their political muscle” to influence a local district election. But is that not precisely what the iVoteIsrael Campaign is doing by mobilizing American citizens in Israel to vote for a president who will “support and stand by Israel in absolute commitment to its safety, security and right to defend itself”?

Oh no, the Arab Americans are mobilizing around a shared agenda in electoral politics! Isn’t that what AIPAC makes its living doing day in and day out? And doesn’t this video demonstrate the kinship between the campaign and the AIPAC agenda? And is this not precisely what the iVoteIsrael Campaign is doing here in Israel?

The most ironic part is that the campaign does not even seem too concerned about maintaining the “nonpartisan” facade they are so insistent about. I contacted campaign manager Aron Shaviv for comment on this latest video but he did not provide a response.

Campaign urges Americans in Israel to vote in upcoming U.S. elections
Ad urging Americans in Israel to vote: ‘Want a Palestinian state?’ 


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    1. Paul

      The iVoteIsrael campaign makes no comment on how people vote though and all votes are kept confidential to the individual submitting the ballot in accordance with US law. They’ll have a table set up in front of shuk haCarmel Friday midday if you want to stop by.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Laura

      YAY for Yalla Vote! It’s good to see people get organized against the Israeli machine. Is this the USA or Israel? You can’t have two masters.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Woody

      So, what’s the right protest vote, now that they’ve gotten my attention to vote?

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jack

      Why do they “take” their conflict to america, involving the average joe? What does it benefit the average joe to support Israel? Whats in it for americans to create more rifts between the american/arab/muslim community?
      That another state have so much influence that it is a election topic is absurd and should be illegal.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Philos

      If it looks like a…. I can’t be bothered with the jokes. Israel-firsters all the way. And, sadly, I think campaigns like this one day will be thrown in the faces of US Jews with the cry, “choose! Us or them?”
      It happened to American Muslims already

      Reply to Comment
    6. caden

      Big deal, Iremember when Mario Cuomo sent around sound trucks saying for for Cuomo not the homo when he was running against Koch. And Koch didn’t hold back either. Its called politics.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Tim H

      In the US we are constantly bombarded with politcal advertisements such as these. I totally ignore them as they are, at best, half truths, but most likely all lies. It is interesting to note that it seems that if you express any sympathy for a Palestinian, you must be anti-Israeli. What a country!

      Reply to Comment
    8. Kolumn9

      Blah blah blah. All legal and abiding with US law.

      They clearly state they are pro-Israel. If you suggest that neutrality is about being agnostic about Israel then they are obviously not neutral. Otherwise the question of whether they are neutral requires you to lay out your biases as to what kind of neutrality you are referring to. Should they be courting the anti-Israel vote among Americans in Israel in the interest of whatever concept of ‘neutrality’ you propose?

      Reply to Comment
    9. Rafael

      Well, let’s hope the most hardline Islamic group in Iran publish a similar ad in the next presidential elections, calling people to vote for the most anti-Jewish candidate – Iranian Jews be damned. Let’s see if Jewish groups and media will have the courage to say something as Jews are already engaging in similar behavior.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Will this race war of words ever end? Is it possible to be a Jew and dislike the seige of Gaza? It is possible to be Arab and dislike Islamic Jihad or Hamas (at least its military wing)? Or should we execute such types to keep our racial categories pure?
      I direct Israeli patriots once again to the words of their Declaration of Independence.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Wait! Have you nothing to say about the other claims – Hamas-linked, anti-Semitic rhetoric, et. of th Arabs supporting Pascrell? AIPAC is comparable to these elements that facilitate terror?

      Reply to Comment
    12. Laurent Szyster

      Inciting against Arab ? What a joke !

      Taking a stand in the american election on one foreign policy issue may not be the best course of action, but it has definitively nothing to do with incitment.

      Come in Europe watch far-right campaign adds and billboard posters to see what actual anti-arab incitment looks like.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Jack

      Exactly, and what this shows that racism seems to be ok when its directed toward certain groups of people.

      Reply to Comment
    14. annie

      i live on the other coast but my 2 cents is that rothman, when “redistricting commission redrew four North Jersey districts into three.”, instead of staying put and running against the dem challenger..pulled up roots where he had been elected and served for years, moved back to the town in which he was raised..and challenged a popular long term serving democrat.
      from Mairav’s supporting link: “On paper, Pascrell was outnumbered. But he was able to peel away voters who had supported Rothman for years partly by questioning Rothman’s decision to move so he could stay in the district and challenge a fellow Democrat.”
      not smart. my hunch is that the decision to move and take on pascrell was not a decision made all alone. had rothman stayed put, and challenged a popular gop candidate in the run off, he may have lost anyway. but he, and the lobby, under estimated the popularity of the long term popular pascrell. the lobby. blatantly, made this all about israel. they are too in your face where as the arab american community is here, has always been here, no less in demographics than the american jewish community, but generally unrepresented. it was the lobby who thrust this competing narrative to the limelight and completely underestimated the degree pascells constituents would rally for him. they lost, as they should have and it cost them rothman who lacked the cajones to stay put and challenge the gop.

      Reply to Comment
    15. caden


      Reply to Comment
    16. caden

      Holy fucking shit batman, Annie is basically right on this. I believe I just saw a pig fly by my window

      Reply to Comment
    17. Adam

      Annie, the Mondoweiss diva, has demolished her world view by arguing so persuasively that the American electorate is more powerful than AIPAC.

      Reply to Comment
    18. delia ruhe

      O, Adam, you’re breaking my heart. I thought I was the Mondoweiss diva. Don’t listen to him, Annie, he’s nothing but a cad.

      On the topic of the ad targeting Americans in Israel: Shocking, perhaps, to those too young to know the history of American hatred of Middle Eastern indigens.

      This ad is very much in the anti-Arab tradition of Israel-US relations. Long, long before 9/11, the cultivation of anti-Muslim, anti-Arab sentiment among Americans was a major project of pro-Israel groups in the US. It was the most effective way of getting Americans to support the “special relationship” involving lots of taxpayer money and military support.

      Americans are easily spooked, as everyone who lived through the Soviet era knows. It didn’t take much to shift some of that fear and anxiety to another target. Today, there’s more Islamophobia in the US than there was antisemitism in Germany before Hitler started pedaling it.

      Shocking but not surprising.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Adam

      “Today, there’s more Islamophobia in the US than there was antisemitism in Germany before Hitler started pedaling it.
      Shocking but not surprising.”

      Delia– This is a seriously fucked up comment…but not surprising coming from someone who considers herself a Mondoweiss diva. When US Muslims are being sent to concentration camp to be exterminated, let me know and I’ll send you $10.00, an apology, and free spelling lessons.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Rafael

      She did wrote “before Hitler started pedaling it”, troll.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Rafael


      Reply to Comment
    22. Adam

      and I wrote “when.” Obviously the subtlety of tenses eludes you. “Pedaling” anti-Semitism. Now that’s what I call some serious German engineering.

      Reply to Comment
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