Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter


Is That Anti-Semitic Kazakh Journalist Speaking Hebrew?

posted by Esther Kustanowitz

Last year, a sketch character called Borat sang a song advising the world to throw the Jews down the well so his country could be free, and in the process he managed to convince the patrons in a country-western bar to sing along. The world’s response? Some Jewish organizations were predictably fearful–worrying about the possibility that the sketch was promoting anti-Semitism–while many individuals around the world embraced the joke, and the comedian, behind the sketch. Many of Borat’s fans were Jewish, but didn’t see it as a conflict; some of them “got the joke,” that people will do anything on camera, and the “not-so-jokey” part, that people are followers who may embrace anti-Semitism if it’s compelling enough in the moment. Other people just thought it was funny.

This year, Borat’s got a new movie coming out, called “Encyclopedia Borat and the Case of the Infernally Long and Unmemorable Fake Movie Title.” (Actually, the movie’s real title is “Borat’s Cultural Learnngs of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” See? Mine was easier.) So with millions of people about to be exposed to this anti-Semitic Kazakh journalist, we’ll be hearing a lot about whether the movie is good for the Jews.

While Borat’s creator, Sacha Baron Cohen, is himself Jewish–and, as a cover story in Entertainment Weekly noted, “wrote a thesis on the black-Jewish alliance in the American civil rights movement”–one of Borat’s more famous characteristics is his virulent anti-Semitism. Most recently, People reported that he expressed a wish “to meet the fearless anti-Jew warrior Melvin Gibson.” He continued, “We agree with his comments that the Jews started all wars. We also have proof that they were responsible for killing off all the dinosaurs. And Hurricane Katrina–they did it.”

But what’s that gibberish dialect that Borat speaks in the film? It’s supposed to be his native Kazakh language, but after viewing a new trailer, Jews the world over know the truth: Borat speaks Hebrew.

In the movie, according to a report in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (the AP of Jewish journalism): “Borat takes leave of his ancestral village, telling one resident, according to the subtitle, ‘Doltan, I’ll get you a new arm in America.’ In fact, Cohen says in Hebrew, ‘I’ll buy you some kind of a new arm.’ Borat also parries with his wife in Hebrew.” (I am citing the report for journalistic reasons, but as a Hebrew-speaker, I can verify that this is true.)

The Entertainment Weekly article further noted that the “Kazakh” Borat speaks is actually a blend of gibberish, Hebrew, and Polish. And Borat’s Wikipedia entry notes that the Kazakh journalist has been known to say the lyrics of a Hebrew folk song, “Koom Bachur Atzel.” (Anyone who knows that song will now have it stuck in his or her head for the rest of the day. Sorry about that.)

Clearly, the artist behind Borat doesn’t really believe Jews should all be thrown down the well, or that Jews killed the dinosaurs, any more than the creators of South Park believe that skater Brian Boitano built the pyramids and beat up Kublai Khan. But perhaps within Borat’s choice of language, there’s an additional wink in an already parodic portrayal. Perhaps it’s even a reward for the Hebrew-speakers who can see past the “anti-Semitism” and get the joke.



  • http://HASH(0xfe33780) mslily

    Just saw it, and while I would not say its a great movie (a little too gross out for me) he did recant his dislike of the Jews in the end, because during his journey he attended a Pentacostal church (which sort of pokes fun at that, too…) and has become a Christian. While he did disparage Jews, one of the funniest comments was that they should go back to NY, as there werent any Jews there! I was not offended by his asides, he poked fun at just about everything.

  • http://HASH(0xfe33f9c) l

    borat also stops mid sentence sometimes – when he tells his friend not to rape any animals, he says, in hebrew – “don’t do the…” at which point in turns in mumbo-jumbo…

Previous Posts

Tom Petty Gets Political
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' upcoming album, Hypnotic Eye, reveals a political side of the famous song legend. In a recent interview with Billboard, Petty was very candid about the inspiration and his overall feelings about the Catholic church and other things political. "Playing Dumb," a tra

posted 10:24:01am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra Launch Sixth All - New Meditation Experience 'Expanding Your Happiness'
Registration Starts Today Monday, July 14 at Oprah.com/meditation Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra announced the launch of their latest, all-new meditation experience "Expanding Your Happiness," which is open for registration starting today at www.Oprah.com/meditation.  The free 21-day meditation

posted 11:56:20am Jul. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Anchor Stuart Scott Honored at ESPYs for Perseverance
ESPN’s anchor Stuart Scott offers strength to many on air. It’s not only for his smooth delivery or a career that’s spanned over two decades-it’s fighting a deadly form of cancer since 2007. This week Scott, 48, was presented the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs by actor Kief

posted 10:01:07am Jul. 18, 2014 | read full post »

WORLD WIDE EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS from 'The Good Lie' Starring Reese Witherspoon
“The Good Lie,” a new movie from Warner Brothers, stars Reese Witherspoon as Carrie Davis, a woman who agrees to help a group of Sudanese refugees who win a lottery for relocation in the United States. Film director Philippe Falardeau brings the story of survival to life, displaying the power of

posted 8:42:17am Jul. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Planes: Fires & Rescue - Exclusive Trailer
“Planes: Fire & Rescue” the theatrical sequel to the 2013 animated film “Planes” is a comedy-adventure featuring a quirky crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from a raging wildfire. The team learns that with hard work, faith and re

posted 8:30:42am Jul. 14, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.