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Borat and Anti-Semitism


Is the film Borat (2006) an instance of anti-Semitism? Only if understood superficially, though Sacha Baron Cohen's Jewishness does not exempt Borat from charges of anti-Semitism. Does the film expose anti-Semitism in others, or at least uncover their indifference? Yes, partly, but while risking that the exposé itself will be misinterpreted. More subtly, the film ridicules Jewish worries about anti-Semitism, a strategy that undercuts moral earnestness. Finally, Borat challenges, by ridiculing more "sophisticated” social attitudes, the very basis on which one decides about the nature and existence of anti-Semitism. In short, Borat unmasks anti-Semitism to denounce it; but, even more, interrogates our concerns about its manifestations.