JERUSALEM, (AP) – Three Israeli security figures said Monday they were duped into taking part in an ad supporting Barack Obama made by the same group that was behind comedian Sarah Silverman’s “Great Schlep.”
Uzi Dayan, a retired army general, and Efraim Halevy, a former Mossad chief, were among eight high-ranking retired members of Israel’s security establishment in a pro-Obama film. Former Mossad agent Yossi Alpher also said he was misled.
The three said they were unaware they were being interviewed for a political campaign and thought they were commenting on the regional strategic affairs that will face the next U.S. president. All insisted they have not endorsed either Obama nor his Republican rival, John McCain.
“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.”
The eight-minute video, aimed at American Jews, was produced by the Jewish Council for Education and Research. The nonprofit group supports the Democratic presidential candidate, but says it is not connected to Obama’s presidential campaign.
The group is also behind “The Great Schlep” — a Web site featuring Silverman encouraging young Jews to go to Florida to persuade their grandparents to vote for Obama.
Mik Moore, a co-founder of the political action committee, said the video quoting the Israelis was aimed at “setting the record straight” about Obama’s approach to Israel.
Moore said participants were informed the film makers supported Obama, and the video didn’t claim everyone in it endorsed him. He promised, however, to “address their concerns.”
The video, which includes clips from Obama’s visit to Israel, concludes with a black screen reading: “The people who have kept Israel alive offer you their choice.”