Jul 3, 2008

Hamas or hummus?

"They took us down winding stone stairs and through long corridors, ostensibly to have some make-up dabbed on our noses for the cameras, in fact to meet the interviewer and test his disguise. We confronted a tall, blond-ish man in his thirties, dressed in leather and studs, his face heavily powdered, his arms and chest shaven. He spoke in a heavy German accent, his movements and mannerisms ultra-gay. He tried to write down our names, but they came out dyslexic.

We had been asked to be interviewed for a documentary that would explain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the youth of the world. A worthy cause. The producers explained that our interviewer, a German rock star, was the perfect person to establish strong communication with our audience. Then one of us mentioned Hamas, and the exchange that ensued went something like this:—

“Vait, vait. Vat’s zee connection between a political movement and food. Vy hummus?”

“Hamas,” we explained, “is a Palestinian Islamist political movement. Hummus is a food.”

“Ya, but vy hummus? Yesterday I had to throw away my pita bread because it vas dripping hummus. Unt it’s too high in carbohydrates.”

The Hamas-hummus confusion went on for several minutes. Then, the interviewer declared: “Your conflict is not so bad. Jennifer-Angelina is worse.”

An encounter with Sacha Baron Cohen in the old city of Jerusalem, as reported in The Jewish Daily Forward

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