On Tuesday, Israel's Channel 1 published what it says is a transcript of President Obama's private phone call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking for an immediate ceasefire. It is true that Obama called Netanyahu on Sunday and that, according to the White House, he called for an immediate and unilateral. It is not true, according to everybody on earth except for Channel 1, that Channel 1's transcript is remotely accurate. It is transparently fictional, and appears crafted in such a way as to make Obama appear unreasonable and obtuse despite Netanyahu's reasoned objections to a ceasefire.
Twitter's many MidEast-watchers, perhaps needing a brief levity break from the awful and now three-week-long Israel-Gaza conflict, have piled on with parodies of the conversation. Some of them are even pretty funny. Here is Channel 1's transcript (it was originally in Hebrew, which the Times of Israel translated "back" into English), followed by some of the less-groanworthy parodies.
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire - silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It's a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel's position.
BN: Kerry's proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel's military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel's commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It's impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks -
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball's in Israel's court, and it must end all its military activities.
Before we proceed: my favorite part is when Obama allegedly insists that he "trusts" Qatar. That is something that an Israeli might believe is true, but taking the view from Washington, it is pretty clear based on US disagreements with Qatar over Egypt and Syria that Obama would never actually say this. It also seems highly likely that an Israeli wrote this; every Obama response is like a parody of the Israeli perception that the US does not understand its problems.
Now the parodies:
BN: I cannot trust Hamas BO: Why not, they're awesome, the whole Muslim Brotherhood is awesome! BN: You are being very unreasonable— Tom Gara (@tomgara) July 29, 2014
OBAMA: stop the bombs NETANYAHU: no way man OBAMA: aww come on NETANYAHU: nah OBAMA: fucks sake *hangs up* NETANYAHU: lol rage quit— Libby Watson (@libbycwatson) July 29, 2014
OBAMA: The bombings must stop. They are not good BIBI: They are good and we will-- BIDEN: Cowabunga OBAMA: OMG Joe get off the other line— Eric Schroeck (@ericschroeck) July 29, 2014
Obama: "Bring me the leader of the Jews." Bibi: "I am that leader." Obama: "I demand forthwith a knish." Bibi: "I refuse you a knish."— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) July 29, 2014
OBAMA: Bibi, this must end. BIBI: Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons. OBAMA: But— BIBI: Just kidding, this is the machine. Leave a message!— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) July 29, 2014
OBAMA: Turn down NETANYAHU: For what?— Adam Smith (@asmith83) July 29, 2014
OBAMA: They call it a "Royale with Cheese." NETANYAHU: "Royale with Cheese." OBAMA: That's right. NETANYAHU: What do they call a Big Mac?— Matt Ford (@fordm) July 29, 2014
OBAMA: I think you're a Charlotte. NETANYAHU: No. I'm a Carrie. OBAMA: Def a Charlotte. NETANYAHU: Who are you? OBAMA: Samantha.— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) July 29, 2014
OBAMA: Your going too far NETANYAHU: No shut up I will do what I want OBAMA: Biden hand me my sword NETANYAHU: Fine,, so we battle— brendan james (@deep_beige) July 29, 2014
BN: Sorry, my phone was downloading all these automatic updates BO: I love getting automatic updates BN: THATS INSANE NOBODY LOVES THAT— Tom Gara (@tomgara) July 29, 2014
Disregard fake transcript going around. Obama did not demand a trial by combat with Netanyahu and then twirl around the room with sword.— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) July 29, 2014