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Sacha Baron Cohen duped Republicans with pro-Israel award

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Sacha Baron Cohen duped leading Republicans into reciting absurd endorsements of a fake program to arm toddlers in his premier of Showtime’s “Who is America?” last night. One angle that seems to have baited Republicans into participating was no-holds-barred support for Israel.

Like in his “Da Ali G Show,” Cohen wearing a disguise met with senior politicians under the premise of filming an unknown foreign news show. But where his infamous Borat and Bruno played off of stereotypes that punched down, in this series he impostures hardline characters whose influence has increased under the Trump administration, namely a right wing blogger and a terrorism expert.

Cohen’s most memorable segment is a 10-minute bit in which he is dressed as an Israeli Defense Forces general and seeks to launch “Kinderguardians,” a program to train children from as young as 3 to handle guns and light mortars. With Israel already running these programs in schools, says Cohen, costumed as Gen. Erran Morad, his goal is to expand in the U.S. market with the help of Second Amendment enthusiasts. “The NRA wants to arm the teachers, this is crazy! They should arm the children,” Cohen declares. 

The look is a smart parody—realistic enough but anyone familiar with Israel would be able to spot him as a fake. Cohen’s head is shaved, he has a scar in one eyebrow, but the giveaway is the logo on his shirt. It resembles a self-made army unit t-shirts that are popular with soldiers, except the Hebrew letters are written backwards (Cohen is Jewish and speaks Hebrew fluently, oft employing the language in his ruses.) If the text is flipped it reads a banal “The school for fighting terrorism,” yet anyone familiar with Israeli gun laws knows there are no classroom gun programs for small children and Israel has stricter gun laws than the U.S. Bullets are also limited.  

Logo on Sacha Baron Cohen’s character IDF Gen. Erran Morad. The Hebrew script is written backwards.

“Gen. Morad” meets with lobbyist Larry Pratt who laughs a little too eagerly at Cohen’s locker room talk that “it’s not rape it’s your wife” and during the retelling of an apparent hate-crime murder of a Muslim gardener. Pratt insists the faux-victim should have prayed “in secret” to avoid being killed. He is also gullible enough to recite an endorsement clearly written by Cohen’s team that lauds toddlers for their sharpshooter skills because of their so-called biological advantage of the “Blink-182” pheromone and vascular “Cardi B.”

A number of Republican officials followed suit, stating for the camera without a hint of irony, that the way to “stop a bad guy” is to arm a “good boy.” Trent Lott, Joe Wilson and Joe Walsh make cameos with Walsh giving a particularly earnest sounding plug to the fake program: “In less than a month a first grader can become a first grenade-or,” he said.

Hours after the program aired Walsh responded to criticism over social media with a mea culpa. (Others have threatened lawsuits). His explanation gave insight into how Cohen was able to get more than a handful of politicians to back a gun education camp for kindergarteners. Namely, Walsh said he did not support instructing American children to respond to school shooters with deadly fire. Rather he said he was reading off a teleprompter—describing what he thought was an existing class in Israel, as part of a larger interview on Israel’s achievements.

“I was reading from a TelePrompTer, promoting various Israeli innovation. I read a story about a child in Israel who stopped a terrorist. I then read about Israel training children on firearms. I thought it was extreme, but often Israel must be extreme. The story was a lie.”

He added, “If he had asked me about arming 5yr olds, I would have said hell no.”

Later in the season views will see Cohen create a fake pro-Israel award and give one to Walsh celebrating his commitment to the Jewish state. This event is one at which Cohen conned Sarah Palin and Roy Moore–yes that Roy Moore of Alabama pedophilia fame was also invited to Washington DC to receive a plaque.

In a statement posted to Facebook last week where Moore threatened a defamation suit, the disgraced former candidate for Senate accused Cohen of “trickery, deception, and dishonesty.”

Because Alabama has always been at the forefront of support of Israel and because I share a strong belief in God as the Creator and Sustainer of all life, as does Israel, I eventually accepted the invitation. Expenses were paid, and I received no private remuneration for my time or participation,” Moore’s statement said. 

David Frum, a former George W. Bush aide, expressed anger that the episode has exposed the degree of reflexive support for Israel in the US.

I’m really really not loving this game where @sachabaroncohen repeatedly takes advantage of people’s affection and respect for the State of Israel to deceive and humiliate them.

 

 

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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8 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    July 17, 2018, 7:21 am

    It’s a good thing Sacha Baron Cohen didn’t ask leading Republicans to fellate a donkey to prove their support for Israel!

    ■ The I Will Fellate That Donkey Party is alive and well. — https://twitter.com/bungdan/status/1018377845213618178

    ■ More on SNL’s fellate-a-donkey for Israel skit — https://mondoweiss.net/2013/02/fellate-donkey-israel/

    ■ B’MAN’S 2016 POTUS WATCH: BERNIE SANDERS WINS BY NOT GIVING ORAL SEX TO A DONKEY — https://buelahman.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/bmans-2016-potus-watch-bernie-sanders-wins-by-not-giving-oral-sex-to-a-donkey/

  2. July 17, 2018, 8:48 am

    No one did their due diligence on who was interviewing them – all were bought with a plane ticket and hotel room.

    Lazy dim wits who are now crying foul play – do they really believe there’s sympathy out there for them?

  3. CigarGod
    CigarGod
    July 17, 2018, 9:43 am

    Hey, David Frum:
    Orwell just sat up in his grave with a smile on his face.
    “Indoctrination is Love.”

  4. diacad
    diacad
    July 17, 2018, 10:14 am

    This Sacha Baron Cohen youtube is fantastic – I would suggest to all who appreciate it to download it quickly before the “YT Police” take it down because it may offend somebody powerful. Be sure to also download the Joe Walsh complaint youtube that immediately follows – “in the interest of fairness” – heh-heh, just drives Sacha’s point in further. Sacha should get an academy award or something for relevant and sly humor.

  5. constipatedart
    constipatedart
    July 17, 2018, 10:51 am

    I was actually very heartened to see this. I always thought Sacha Baron-Cohen was a comic genius, and also a racist turd (unfortunately, yes, you can be both). So now he’s no longer “punching down” and it’s kind of great. I can’t help but feel he’s starting to see the light, or at least a glimmer, the way so many others are now. I honestly never thought I’d see him play a stereotypical macho Israeli maniac to the chagrin of David Frum. Enjoying this moment.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 17, 2018, 2:18 pm

    LOL

  7. James Canning
    James Canning
    July 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

    What a hoot!

  8. Jett Rucker
    Jett Rucker
    July 24, 2018, 5:38 pm

    The LETTERS of the Hebrew script in the logo look right-way ’round to me (all I know of Hebrew is recognizing letters). Are the words SPELLED backwards, and/or in reverse order (say, left-to-right, like English)?

    I can’t see where the script is “backwards.”

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