Arab-Americans are not likely to be giving Coca-Cola their votes for best Super Bowl commercial during Sunday's game. Virtually every significant Arab-American group has criticized the spot, which was released in advance on the Internet. It shows an Arab walking alongside his camel in the desert and being passed by a group of cowboys, Las Vegas showgirls, and drivers looking like they had escaped from the Mad Max movie. Viewers are then asked to vote online on their favorites to win the race. (Voting for the Arab is not an option.) Typical of the reaction was a statement by Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies. In an email to Reuters, Ali Siddiqui said, The Coke commercial for the Super Bowl is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish camel jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world. Abed Ayoub, director of legal and policy affairs for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said, By not including the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial. A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said that the Super Bowl spot was intended to refer to movies of the past. Clearly, Lawrence of Arabia, in which the Arabs win, was not one of them.
There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.