Pro-Likud campaign call warns voters of 'Hussein Obama'

Campaigner said that voters should remember that "Hussein Obama" is in the White House and only a strong Likud can stand up to him.

March 15, 2015 17:59
1 minute read.
Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A pro-Likud campaign phone call seeking to get out the vote among supporters referred to the US President as “Hussein Obama.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama have had a notoriously tense relationship, which may have hit its nadir two weeks ago when Netanyahu, at the invitation of Republican House Speaker John Boehner, delivered an address to a joint session of Congress raising concerns over a possible Iran deal that Obama, a Democrat, is negotiating.

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In the phone call, made to a Jerusalem Post reporter, the campaigner warned that polls put Likud close to the Zionist Union and failure of Likud supporters to vote in Tuesday’s election could end in a government led by the competing party’s leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni.

The campaigner then said voters should remember that “Hussein Obama” is in the White House and only a strong Likud could stand up to him before asking whether “we can count on you for your support on election day.”

When told that referring to the US President as “Hussein Obama” was insulting, the caller responded, “Why?” It remains unclear if the call was an official Likud call or whether the caller was precisely following the script. A Likud spokeswoman said she would look into the matter, but had not responded by press time and stopped answering phone calls seeking further clarification.

The use of Obama’s middle name in the US has been politically contentious, with Obama supporters accusing detractors of using it to raise questions about his religion, foment distrust and highlight his “otherness.”

Israeli campaign finance laws prohibit organizations outside the campaign from certain activities, including urging voters to vote for a specific party.

V15, an anti-Netanyahu get-out-the-vote group, avoided charges of illegal campaigning by noting that it did not support any specific party, but rather a change in leadership.

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