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Effect of Obama’s middle name measured
U.S. President Barack Obama”s middle name, Hussein, makes Israelis — both Jewish and Arab — perceive him as less pro-Israeli, a U.S.-Israeli study found.
“Even though the Israeli public has extensive information about the American president and his positions, their opinions can still be swayed by cultural cues, such as a name that in this case is perceived as Arabic,” co-author Israel Waismel-Manor said in a release from the University of Haifa.
In a study conducted with researchers at the University of Texas, a news clip of Obama speaking at an official meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President of the Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen about the peace talks between the sides was shown to study participants.
They included Israeli Jewish students, Israeli Arab students, American students who sympathize with Israel and American students who sympathize with Palestinians.
A random half of each group was shown the clip with a reference caption that read “President Barack Obama,” and the other half saw the clip with the caption “President Barack Hussein Obama.”
Following the clip, the participants were asked whether Obama favors Israelis or Palestinians.
The study found the president”s middle name makes Israelis — both Jews and Arabs — perceive him as less pro-Israel, ultimately shaping an opinion among the Jews that he is less fair and among the Arabs that he is more fair, the researchers said.
For the American participants in the study, their president”s middle name apparently had no effect on their opinion of him, they said.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International