Did Sacha Baron Cohen Host a Fake pro-Israel Event to Dupe Conservatives?

Alabama’s Roy Moore and radio host Joe Walsh say actor tricked them into being interviewed by giving them a ‘Significant Contributions to the State of Israel’ award

Sacha Baron Cohen, left, and Isla Fisher arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Did Sacha Baron Cohen, the British Jewish comedian known for portraying characters like Borat and Ali G, host a fake pro-Israel event in Washington D.C. to dupe conservatives? After being accused of pulling a “sick” prank on Sarah Palin as part of his new TV show, "Who is America?", Cohen is now accused of duping two other figures from the American right – and this time it seems that Israel was a key part of the comedian’s setup.

According to a statement by Alabama’s Roy Moore and tweets by congressman-turned right-wing radio host Joe Walsh, both were invited to a “pro-Israel event” where they were to be honored with an award for “Significant Contributions to the State of Israel.”

According a statement released by Moore, "In February 2018, I was invited to Washington, DC to receive an award for my strong support of Israel in commemoration of her 70th anniversary as a nation.” According to the former Alabama chief justice accused of sexual misconduct, he agreed to attend “because Alabama has always been at the forefront of support for Israel” and he has a “strong belief in God as the Creator and Sustainer of all life, as does Israel.”

"I did not know Sacha Cohen, or that a Showtime TV series was being planned to embarrass, humiliate, and mock not only Israel, but also religious conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Joe Walsh, and Dick Cheney," Moore wrote.

Indeed, Walsh tweeted that he too was invited to a similar event and even received a physical prize, though it remains unclear if a ceremony ever took place.   

Walsh seems to hint that during a “pre-event interview” he was duped into saying that in Israel, children are used to defend against terrorists.

Other figures from the right have also been reportedly tricked by Cohen as part of the new CBS/Showtime show. Dick Cheney, for example, is featured in the show’s trailer as signing a “waterboarding kit”.

Palin's segment apparently sees her being interviewed in Washington by a heavily disguised Cohen, who appears as a disabled U.S. veteran in a wheelchair.

Palin, who traveled to the interview with her daughter from her Alaskan home, took to Facebook to criticize Cohen after the fake interview, saying that the "disrespect of our U.S. military and middle-class Americans via Cohen’s foreign commentaries under the guise of interview questions was perverse."

Dr. Billy Wayne Ruddick - Cohen’s fictional character in this project - has taken the offensive in recent days, demanding an apology from Palin herself:

"I did NOT say I was a War Vet," read a letter to Palin signed by Ruddick. "I was in the service – not military, but United Parcel, and I only fought for my country once – when I shot a Mexican who came onto my property. (Coincidentally, just like our Great President, I was sadly prevented from joining the regular army on account of bone spurs bein discovered in my testies)."

The so-called Dr. Ruddick seems to run an Infowars-type website called Truthbrary.com and, per his Twitter account, is fond of the MAGA hashtag associated with Trump and his supporters.