Wednesday, September 17, 2008

U.S. Jews outraged over phone campaign alleging 'Obama gave money to PLO'

Jewish voters have been receiving telephone calls from figures claiming to be pollsters yet trying to dissuade them from supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in the upcoming election.

The callers introduce themselves as poll-takers who are gathering data for a public opinion survey and subsequently ask their interlocutors loaded questions whose tone infers that Obama holds anti-Israel views and is thus unworthy of Jewish votes.

The calls, which have been reported of late in Florida and Pennsylvania, were brought to public attention by the Jewish Council for Education, a pro-Obama organization that has worked to drum up support for the Illinois senator among prospective Jewish voters.

Callers posed questions asking if voters would reconsider their preferred candidate had they learned that "Obama had given money to the Palestine Liberation Organization", or that "the leader of Hamas, Ahmed Yousef, expressed support for Obama and hoped for Obama's victory," or that Obama's political advisors are "pro-Palestinian," or that Obama once said "the Palestinians have suffered the most."

The "pollsters" also asked what would-be Jewish voters thought if they were told that the president of Iran also "endorsed Obama," or if they learned that Obama "supported a united Jerusalem and then switched his opinion and believed in a divided Jerusalem," or Jimmy Carter's "anti-Israel national security advisor is one of Barack Obama's foreign policy advisors."

Officials from the Jewish Council for Education are scheduled to convene a news conference in New York on Tuesday during which they are expected to reveal new information that sheds light on the mysterious campaign intended to smear Obama under the guise of a public survey.

One of those expected to address the media in New York on Tuesday is Joelina Marcus, a retired professor currently residing in Miami Beach.

Marcus says she received a phone call from a man who claimed to be a pollster. She was asked if she was Jewish, and if so, to what stream of Judaism does she belong, and whether she attended synagogue.

She was then asked if her vote would be influenced by the fact that Obama once contributed money to the PLO or that one of Obama's closest aides maintained close contacts with Palestinians, she recounted.


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