Israeli Officials on Ad: 'Pure Deceit'

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Three prominent Israeli security officials said the Jewish Council for Education and Research used them deceitfully for a campaign video supporting US presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Major General (ret.) Uzi Dayan, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, and former Mossad agent Yossi Alpher, along with six other senior members of Israel's security establishment, agreed to share their views on the regional challenges for the next U.S. president.

But none of them endorsed either Democratic candidate Barak Obama or Republican candidate John McCain. And all three said their comments were taken out of context to appear to endorse Obama.

"I made it very clear that I did not wish to take sides in the American elections," Alpher told The Associated Press.

"I never would have given the interview had I known that they would edit my words into a film that endorsed either candidate," he said. "They really misrepresented the purpose of the film," he said.

In the film, Halevi is quoted as saying Obama is "very impressive," but he made the identical comment about McCain, which was edited out of the quote.

The video, complete with clips of Obama during his whirlwind visit to Israel, concludes with the statement, "The people who have kept Israel alive offer you their choice," in bold letters on a black background.

The Jewish Council for Education and Research also produced "The Great Schlep," featuring Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman, who tells young Jews to convince their families to vote for Obama.

Mik Moore, co-founder of the organization, called the ad an educational film aimed at "setting the record straight."

"It's a film to educate and mobilize the Jewish vote," Moore said. "It's not to encourage people to vote for Obama. The purpose is to have experts on Israeli security speak," he said.

The Israeli experts disagree.

"This is pure and simple deceit," said Dayan. "I never expressed support for Obama, his approach or his opinions. I've also never expressed support for McCain. I think that these are respectable people, but we should not interfere in the American elections," he said.

Yossi Alpher called it "an act of deception."

"I was asked at the end of the interview whom I support, and I said that I didn't think it was appropriate for an Israeli citizen to give such advice to an American voter on who should be the U.S. president, just as I think it is not proper that an American citizen give advice to an Israeli citizen on who should be the prime minister of Israel," he said.

Alpher said these remarks were not included in the film.

Source: The Associated Press

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