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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gazans For Obama

This story ran in Al Jazeera first, but the Jerusalem Post print edition (not the internet, as far as I can tell) also ran a full feature on it:

Gazan Youth Use Internet to Phone-bank for Obama

According to a report by Al Jazeera English (hit the link for the video) Palestinian youth are using the Internet to run an informal phone bank to call voters in the US before every primary in order to convince them to vote for Barack Obama.

The organizer of the international phone-banking initiative, Ibrahim Abu Jayab, age 23, brings a group of 17 friends to a cybercafé in Gaza before every US primary to use Internet telephony to randomly call numbers in the state where the primary is being held and ask citizens to vote for Obama. Mr. Abu Jayab’s motivation for taking part in this action is that he believes that as president Senator Obama would have a positive impact on the Middle East peace process.

Given the prevalence of pro-Israel sentiment in American public opinion and the generally negative media portrayal of Palestine, it is not clear whether receiving a phone call from a Palestinian youth would encourage or discourage and American voter to support Obama, but the perspective of international phone advocacy, facilitated by low-cost internet telephony tools like Skype, presents an intriguing (and little-explored) are of digital activism.

THIS will certainly improve McCain's chances! All McCain needs now is for Osama bin Ladin to endorse Barack, and Obama's finished. What are these people thinking?! As a general rule, Americans don't much like anyone associated with "terror" and Gaza is certainly painted with that brush in the Average Joe's mind; and secondly, Americans loathe having "foreigners" (usually snotty British types from BBC and that ilk) tell them how to vote.

So now we have "terrorists" calling Yanks at home and telling them to support Obama? This is a really bad idea, and if Obama's campaign people are behind it, then they're incredibly stupid.


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