Hanoch Piven
Obama in Israel
posted: February 25, 2008
Im sure the great people of the United Drawgers of America (note: not including Barry Blitt) won't mind that I comment on your Democratic party primaries frontrunner Mr Barack Obama in my biweekly column in Maariv, Israel.
The way the column is built is that together with the editors we ask somebody to write about the person we decide to portray.
The writer does not have an obligation to refer in his opinion to my illustration but on the contrary is welcomed to bring his own view of the subject.
This weekend we asked Israeli Knesset Member Dr Ahmed Tibi to write about the Obama phenomena from his point of view as an Israeli Arab.
I chose to address the big unknown that lies behind the charming and optimistic white smile. Funny enough we had in our home a smiling mask that my wife bought to our son last year in Brasil. It was a lucky coincidence how much that smile looked like Obama's.
This is how the spread looked...
and for the Hebrew readers (Goldin this is for you..) ...
Sorry no translation available..but in a nutshell Tibi wonders when something of this magnitude will happen in Israel. He is not even fantasizing about an Arab chosen as a prime minister but he doesn't even sees a non Ashkenazi-Jew Prime Minister any time soon... >So there you go....
(..ok Barry?)
Bill Koeb February 25, 2008
Great piece! I like OBama, though not my original first choice. I think the examination of any candidate is a good thing and can lead to a healthy discussion. Too often we fall in love with the idea of "X" without the full examination that is necessary to see the whole of the person we are choosing. I love the crossed eyes the flags make. Bill
barry blitt February 25, 2008
Piv - Nice one. I am going to allow it.
Steve Brodner February 25, 2008
Hanoch: The way that mouth worked shows the Hashem was rooting for you! Wonderful piece. By the way, are you finding deep-seated distrust (or worse) of Obama in Israeli media? My feeling there's plenty flying around there? SB
Hanoch Piven February 25, 2008
Steve while the Israeli newspaper on one hand was celebrating the Obama phenomenom, some people in Israeli talkbacks are worried. W Bush was considered a 'great friend of Israel' so people who loved Bush for that will have a hard time accepting an American president with Hussein as a middle name...kinda confuses them.
Leo Espinosa February 25, 2008
I think the mouth looks like Hillary's and that makes the illo much more complex (at least for me). The position of other countries about the right candidate for the US is rather confusing but Republicans have done their part giving a lot of support (read money and weapons) to governments in crisis. Not a great thing of course but poor governments love that kind of support.
Cathleen Toelke February 25, 2008
One of the fascinating things about a potential Obama presidency is how he'll be perceived abroad. Thanks for your input on this, Hanoch. The mouth mask suggests to me that there's something fake about Obama. I don't think he's perceived that way here, but it's very interesting in the context you've explained.
Hanoch Piven February 25, 2008
Leo yeah it could be a Hillary mouth as well..certainly not intended here... Cathleen I think in Israel there are opinions on all sides as well. As I wrote before there is on one hand certain uneasyness about the good old days of warm USA Israeli relationships being in danger. But as I was watching a funny satire of Bush recent visit to Israel on Israeli TV where he was explaining his 4 step program to peace in the Middle East. And the Bush plan consisted of starting with...Step One. Then moving on to..Step Two...etc. When a reporter asked "W": Ok but what will be agreed on in step one by the parts? His answer was: "They will agree to ..uh..move to step 2" So Israelies also know who they were dealing with all these years...as well..and many are very excited about an Obama presidency, feeling that perhaps without the good old unconditional American support, Israel might be pushed to search harder for a solution to the Palestinian issue. What I tried to suggest with the mask wasn't necessarily fakeness but this feeling of unknown territory that exists behind the optimism. In Obama's campaign there is a front of optimism and positivism which certainly is engaging and pulling people behind it. (it certainly makes ME wanna vote Obama if I could vote that is..) and besides...I liked the mask so there was another GOOD reason to use it.
Steve Brodner February 25, 2008
Hanoch: That's interesting. I remember a time when having a name like Ginsberg or Goldberg would similarly confuse people in this country. I think we're over it now.
Zina Saunders February 25, 2008
Wonderful piece, Hanoch. Biting.
Tim O\'Brien February 26, 2008
Great as always Hanoch
Edel Rodriguez February 26, 2008
Hanoch, I look forward to seeing more images from this new collaboration. Please keep putting them up here. Do you think you'll be doing more about the U.S. election?