Sasha Baron Cohen is a Genius

Recently, Yossi Alpher and Ghassan Khatib, the two guys behind Middle East Peace blog bitterlemmons were totally duped by Sasha Baron Cohen in his guise as Brüno – a fictitious flamboyantly gay Austrian rock star/TV interviewer. Khatib is vice-president of Birzeit University, a former Minister of the PA and a member of the negotiating team at the Madrid Conference in 1991. Alpher is an academic, a former intelligence officer in the IDF and a 12 year veteran of the Mossad.

Cohen interviewed the pair in Jerusalem and had them fooled throughout the interview, despite confusing Hamas with hummus, confusing Muslims with Hindus and concluding with “a mind-boggling song about the epic Middle East conflict between ‘Jews and Hindus.'”

Only long after the conclusion of the interview did the pair realize what had happened. However, having signed rock solid releases, there wasn’t much they could do. But while Alpher, during his time at the Mossad, didn’t learn how to see through an English Jew disguised as a gay Austrian, he clearly learned the value of a preemptive strike. Rather than wait for the ridicule that would be heaped upon him after the release of the movie in May, 2009, he penned a good natured depiction of how he and Khatib were fooled. You can read it in Haaretz and in the Jerusalem Post.

It was self deprecating enough that you could almost forgive the guy: “Yes, dear reader, Sacha Baron Cohen is loose in the Middle East. The end product will undoubtedly be hilarious. We’ll try to be good sports about it.” He should have stopped there. But he didn’t – instead he concluded: “… Sacha Baron Cohen … is exploiting our tragic and painful conflict in the most cynical and deceptive manner. I doubt he’ll give us anything in return.”

Hmmm… Often, Jerusalem Post and Haaretz commenters are, how can I put this mildly… quasi-retarded. However, AJ from the US, in a JPost comment titled “Arrogant people are easy to trick” put it best when he said: “Cohen is a master of manipulating the arrogance and self-centerdness of some people. Therefore, the most arrogant, self-righteous people are the easiest to fool. Yossi Alpher is a perfect example of one of these people.”

So yeah, Yossi. Cohen is indeed going to give us something in return, the precious, oh-so-precious, gift of hysterical laughter. Sorry.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.