'These Americans will believe anything'
Sacha Baron Cohen's impersonation of an Israeli counterterrorism expert got former Senate candidate Roy Moore worried about a pedophile detector and caused a state representative to resign. And Israelis think it's hilarious.
With his fluency in Hebrew and some crafty prosthetics, the Jewish comedian has duped many right-wing politicians by masquerading as an Israeli security instructor in his Showtime series Who is America?. And while Moore said Baron Cohen sought to "embarrass, humiliate, and mock" the Jewish state, Israelis can't believe Moore fell for it, The Associated Press reports.
In one segment of his show, Baron Cohen, aka retired Israeli Col. Erran Morad, convinced conservatives that Israel fights school shootings by giving guns to preschoolers. The satire was "outrageously on point," wrote Israel-based columnist Allison Kaplan Sommer, but she's also worried Americans will think Israelis are "gun fans when the truth is our gun control is a million times stricter than in the U.S."
Other Israelis have noted American ignorance, but for a different reason. "I haven't recognized any outrage or embarrassment about the character," Einav Schiff, a TV critic for Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, told AP. "It's mostly been ridicule for these Americans who have fallen for him."
The convincingness, or lack thereof, of Baron Cohen's olive-fatigued caricature only strengthens the comedian's point: that some pro-Israel politicians have no idea what the state they support is really like. "Apparently these people are so naive that they really think we are like that," a former Israeli soldier told AP. "These Americans will believe anything."
Read more about Baron Cohen's overseas fanbase at The Associated Press.