Obama propaganda


I discovered this last minute bit of propaganda taped to a wall in a New York subway station a few days ago. It features a picture of an opened Bible with the following verse highlighted:

For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”


The quoting of scripture seems ironic considering that anti-Muslim groups often allege the Koran to be militant while discounting the possibility of Bible verses being used as a weapon.

Whether or not the candidates want to admit it, the fear of Islam and Arabs has played a major role in this election. Americans from both backgrounds say they have been ignored by the McCain and Obama campaigns (See my latest article on Al Jazeera.net)

With so much propaganda flowing, it almost makes public relations sense for the campaigns to avoid the groups.

For example, the DVD “Obsession”, which was mailed to some 28 million American households this month, suggests that the world is in denial of Islamic extremism, which is tantamount to Nazism in its bid to take over the planet. Worse still, the film claims it is very difficult determine how many of the world’s one billion Muslims could be susceptible to such a belief. “The bad thing” according to one of the film’s speakers, is that Muslims “are spread throughout the world,” including the West.

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  1. Hi there, I’m involved with the project of promoting Obsession, and found your blog while keeping tabs on it.

    I think your characterization of the movie is seriously incorrect. The film itself does not say that jihadism is tantamount to Nazism, though that is one view expressed. The movie does show that jihadists themselves have adopted anti-Jewish imagery favored by the Nazis.

    And I think you’ve mixed up the question of how many Muslims worldwide are so radicalized: Daniel Pipes does come up with a figure (which he’s explained on his blog). One problem though is that so many non-radical Muslims are afraid of those who are, because they are often empowered by autocratic state authorities who find it useful to encourage hatred of Israel and Jewish people generally.

    And lastly, Obsession is a much more serious treatment of the issue than the offensive poster you found. The movie does not try to do that, and I wouldn’t compare the two.

  2. Hi Chris, thanks for commenting. You say my characterization is “seriously incorrect” but I don’t think you’ve presented any serious disagreement between our views. In your response, you admit that the linkage between “jihadism” and Nazism is “one view expressed” by the film. But in truth, it is actually a view expressed by many if not most of the voices featured in “Obsession”, including that of the “former terrorist”, which is one of the main issues I have with your film. You have not disputed the statement I have quoted, where he says “the bad thing” is that “they (radical Muslims) are spread throughout” which concludes a discussion on the challenge presented by Pipes and others that is “very difficult to establish how many of the world’s one billion Muslims support Al Qaeda”. Daniel pipes suggests a figure of “10-15” percent in the film. Do you disagree with this figure?

    You also state that “Obsession” to be a “serious treatment” of the issue. But Arab American groups such as the ADC have called it hateful propaganda http://www.adc.org/index.php?id=3368

    Why do you think they have reacted this way?

    If the film is “serious” about its subject, why are there no dissenting views presented to its central theme? Why does the film not present a debate, why do all of the voices seem to come to the same conclusion? Why not interview those who speak so much about, i.e. Hezbollah, Hamas to get their opinion on your conclusions? Would that not be balanced research?

    There is much more to say about Obsession but for now I will just add one more criticism. The film relies heavily on a few television channels to make broad statements about the Arab media. But in fact the Arab media contains over 300 television channels, and the sample presented in Obsession is by no means an accurate representation of the “Arab media” much as the selection of a handful of American channels or television/radio shows could be used to make broad and inaccurate generalizations about the American media and the American public’s exposure to that media.

    I would also like to ask you Chris, why has the film been released just before the election? How much did it cost your organization to produce and distribute it, and who specifically has paid these cost?

  3. I can’t answer everything of course — I don’t know how much it cost, I’m not from the money side. But to some of the broader themes:

    Is it instructive to think of jihadism and Nazism together? Yes, in that both ideologies carried out would start with extermination of the Jews and end with a global Reich or caliphate. The objections to this point often focus more on the differing degrees of industrialization. Hitler had armies, but Atta just had box cutters. I think the calculus is very different if, say, Pakistan falls into radicals’ control.

    I think Pipes’ figure is pretty good, so yes. He’s explained his methodology on his blog.

    I’m sorry to see ADC follow CAIR in denouncing the movie. I think their viewpoint is simplistic, and once someone labels something “hate” and it’s a controversial topic, not many will rise to defend it. (One reason why you’re hearing from me.)

    Lastly, the documentary also is not a symposium. It has a point to make. And the re-release was meant to ensure the issue of radical Islam not be lost among the other issues of the day. Just because we’ve been lucky enough to avoid another domestic attack doesn’t mean one can never happen again.

    Hope that helps explain the aims of the documentary some. I’ll try to check back later in the week.

  4. Chris: If ‘Jihadism’ is targeting Jews, why then why have Jews not been the main target of terrorist attacks which have been attributed to Jihadists? How do non-Jewish victims factor into your analysis?

    There is also a problem with the film lumping groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda together as one monolithic single-minded entity. More research on this subject would reveal the first two to be highly political movements with a vested interest in national politics, groups that were elected democratically. Hezbollah for example, which has significant parliamentary representation, is considered by many to be a movement resisting occupation. When Hezbollah engages in guerrilla warfare with Israeli soldiers occupying Lebanese territory or threatens Israeli aircraft flying over Lebanese air space would you also call this a form of “Jihadism”? How also would you explain Hezbollah’s friendly contact with some Jewish groups such as the delegation of Rabbis that visited Beirut in February 2005?

    I understand that your aim is to present a point, but I don’t understand the need to make this point propagandistic by using highly selective television footage and punditry that is in no way representative of the region the film purports to analyze.

    I am also still hoping you can provide an answer to my first question as to who exactly is funding your project. If the project is well intended, transparency should not be a problem. However NPR, The Huffington Post and others have portrayed your group as evasive when it comes to such questions. Wouldn’t you say the audience deserves to know the source of what it is watching? Who exactly is funding the Clairon group?

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