JERUSALEM – A former Mossad official said Sunday he was the target of the latest undercover operation by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
Israeli analyst Yossi Alpher said he was invited to be interviewed for what was supposed to be a documentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Alpher says he was led down a winding staircase and through long corridors to the interview site in Jerusalem. He realized something was amiss when he saw the interviewer — a man claiming to be a German rock star dressed in leather and studs.
Alpher said he learned only later that the interviewer was Cohen's latest character: Bruno.
Cohen's other characters include aspiring rapper Ali G and the anti-Semitic Kazakh journalist Borat. Baron Cohen has fooled many prominent people with his gag interviews.
At one point the questioner compared the Mideast conflict to the spat between actor Brad Pitt's former and current wives.
After Alpher and his Palestinian partner found themselves answering other idiotic questions, they started to suspect the sophisticated team of several assistants and three cameras. In one, the interviewees had to explain the difference between Hamas — an Islamic group ruling Gaza — and hummus — a chickpea paste eaten throughout the Mideast.
"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?' We exchanged astonished glances," Alpher recounted in a letter that originally appeared in the New York Jewish weekly, the Forward.
After a dumbed-down explanation of the difference, the interviewer asked "`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,"' he said, according to Alpher.
But it was too late to pull out, Alpher wrote, because the two had signed release forms and received payment for the interview.