President Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein, can influence the way he is perceived by Israelis, a new study found.
Researchers at the University of Haifa and University of Texas found that when Obama’s middle name was used to identify him, Israelis saw him as less pro-Israel.
Results of the study, which was published in the journal Political Behavior, were announced Sept. 19 in a news release.
“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,” said the University of Haifa’s Israel Waismel-Manor, a co-author of the study, in the news release.
For the study, groups of Israeli Jewish students and Israeli Arab students were shown a news clip of Obama speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Half of each group saw a video in which the president was identified in a caption as “President Barack Obama” and the other half saw him identified as “President Barack Hussein Obama.”
Both the Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews who viewed the video with his middle name saw the president as less pro-Israel than did their counterparts who watched the video that omitted his middle name. — jta