(PJ Media Exclusive) To Sway U.S. Jews, National Jewish Democratic Council Fraudulently Edits, Exploits Sderot Jews
Yaakov Dehan said nice things about Obama to the filmmaker, partly because Obama is president of the United States, but also because Dehan saw Obama during Obama's campaign visit to Sderot. Dehan talks in the film about how charming Obama is, and what a good impression he made on everybody -- doubtless true, as 2008 Obama was an excellent speaker and a brilliant campaigner.
I had to search for the third star of the film, Chaim Yosef, a young man with a film store in a small shopping center not far from the square. I knew his face from somewhere, but I could not remember where; he is filmed against a backdrop of what I took to be those elaborately ornamented religious books which Orthodox Jews study. I sought Chaim Yosef in both of Sderot's religious bookstores, but he worked in neither of them. A friend of mine with whom I watched the video recognized Mr. Yosef and knew his shop; those ornamented books were in fact photo albums of a kind one finds in a store for camera equipment and film.
I always identify this row of stores with my being rapidly ushered into a refrigerator when the missile alarm went off. That walk-in refrigerator was the shelter for the sandwich shop where I had been eating at that moment.
Chaim Yosef told me that he was of course happy that Israel now has the Iron Dome anti-missile batteries, and that he had good things to say about the leader of Israel's major ally. He very much emphasized, however, that he was politically indifferent to these elections, of which he knew and cared very little.
I asked if I could take some pictures of him while he watched the NJDC video on his computer, but he was not keen on it. His assistant told me she had already been photographed enough for one lifetime, because she used to be up in the square where all the journalists go. She mentioned one incident: she had been speaking with journalists while carrying her newborn child on her back when the alarm announced an incoming rocket. She ran to the shelter with her child on her back, and a dozen photographers followed in hot pursuit, flashing their cameras to get her picture as she ran.
She told me that she understands journalists must make a living, and that it is good for the story of Sderot to be told, but she was tired of it all.
I looked high and low for video participant Albert Tzaddikov, but I failed to find him.
Pinchas Ammar lives down the street from Yaakov Dehan. His entire appearance in the film consists of: "Thank you, Mr. Obama, about everything!” -- in heavily accented, improper English. Of the particulars of Mr. Ammar's life we learn nothing.
Specifically, he does not tell, or was not asked, about the fact that he and his wife were both seriously injured when a missile went through their roof and exploded in their kitchen.
Neither has been able to work since that explosion (which I happen to have heard, because I lived nearby). Their daughter told me that when she walks to school in the morning, her friends come to walk with her because she -- like many whom a rocket has affected directly -- prefers not to walk alone. I know the couple fairly well, having interviewed them in detail for an article about just what happened that evening. I once set up some American volunteers to make them a ceramic patio in front of their house, because they are largely homebound.
The little photo sitting on the table next to Ammar while he is saying his line shows him with Obama during the 2008 campaign stop. I watched this event, too, though from some distance, and I therefore did not hear the warm invitation the then-presidential candidate extended to Mr. and Ms. Ammar to attend the inaugural ball he would hold if he were elected. Others did hear it; it is a well-known incident in Sderot.
The couple spent some months in excited expectation of a trip to Washington, but this invitation never arrived. Somehow, this family was on the NJDC’s list, though, so the filmmaker knocked on their door one day to put him into this campaign video.
Ammar told me flatly, emphatically: the "thank you" he is filmed as having given Obama does not express his feelings toward the American president.