Barack Obama Vs Barack Hussein Obama In Arab/Israeli Perception
President Obama’s middle name, Hussein, makes Israelis - both Jewish and Arab - perceive him as less pro-Israeli, reveals a new study conducted by the University of Haifa and the University of Texas. The study has just been published in the journal Political Behavior. “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,” says Dr. Israel Waismel-Manor of the University of Haifa who co-authored the study.
Similar cases in the past have shown that public figures’ names, particularly those carrying cultural significance, can affect how the public perceives their public role. The current study, conducted by Dr. Waismel-Manor and Dr. Natalie Jomini Stroud of the University of Texas, set out to examine if and how Obama’s middle name affects Jewish Israeli, Arab Israeli, and American perceptions, and whether there are differences in how the name affects them due to cultural associations. Participating in the study were Israeli Jewish students; Israeli Arab students; American students who sympathize with Israel; and American students who sympathize with Palestinians.