Sarah Silverman, the often painfully funny—and yes, foul-mouthed—American Jewish comic who has thrown her weight and pretty sizeable video-making talent behind President Obama time and again (not sure about that Adelson vid, though) has a sister who lives in Jerusalem. And is a rabbi. The more you know!
And now Rabbi Susan Silverman has made a pro-Obama video, too—though (and I chalk this up to the difference in the sisters’ professions), it’s rather more Safe For Work than Sarah’s oeuvre tends to be. “I was really frustrated with the misinformation out there about Barack Obama and Israel,” Rabbi Silverman told the press on Thursday. “Frankly it was disgusting to me…. It was driving me crazy, so I just had to do something.”
The final, two-minute-long product, “Israelis on Obama,” comes as a direct response to those who have accused the President of having thrown the Jewish State under the proverbial bus, and features a variety of Israelis—security experts, academics, and concerned citizens from all over the country—talking about Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s now-famous comment that the Obama Administration is “doing more than anything [he] can remember in the past” for Israeli security. Bottom line? In the words of one interviewee: “I have faith in the fact that the United States and President Obama are true to their word.”
The Jewish Council for Education and Research Viewers, sponsor of both Silverman sisters’ pro-Obama video spots, has bought ad time for a 30-second version on Fox and CNN in Florida today and tomorrow in the hope of reaching Jewish voters tuned into tonight’s foreign policy debate. For my money, the shorter version skips what is probably the single most powerful statement in the original. In the words of Iranian-born Israeli analyst and author Meir Javedanfar: “President Obama saves Israeli lives.”
As for this American-Israeli Jew (though not, I stress, a Floridian), I’m grateful to both Silverman sisters and to the many Israelis who have made the effort (in this video and elsewhere) to make their voices heard above the right-wing fear-mongering—though they may want to produce a Hebrew version of the video, too, as recent polling suggests that their faith in this President is not necessarily shared among Israelis more broadly.
To suggest, with a straight face, that President Obama has somehow abandoned Israel’s military and left the Israeli people to fend for themselves (as so many on America's right continue to do) is either to lie, or to be monumentally ill-informed. And, as Sarah Silverman has also been heard to say lately, the truth actually matters.
I will admit that I’m often made uncomfortable by the fact that we so infrequently talk about how good it would be for Israel if this President had managed to broker a peace deal with the Palestinians, particularly given his bold promises to try just that—but maybe he can get to that in his second term. Fingers crossed, on all counts.