UPDATE: After having suspicions regarding the “Copt” problem, I contacted Richard Landes: Boston University prof, Augean Stables proprietor, and the best source around on “Pallywood” — he invented the term, and did excellent work on the Mohammed al-Dura film.

Here’s his take on Innocence of Muslims, and my “impersonating a Copt” (forgive me) suspicions:

First of all, the footage is comical, like so much Pallywood footage. Just so obviously terrible that no self-respecting person would produce it — and certainly not for $5 million. It’s obviously intended to incite. It’s bathroom humor.

Second, the package is certainly a “lethal narrative“: namely, something aimed at accusing Israel/Jews of deliberately doing things that will harm non-Jews (in this case, to the Muslims whose feelings will be offended and to the U.S., whose ambassadors/representatives will be killed). In this sense, it is like Gaza Beach and the Ghalia family: real events (deaths from bombings, movies that provoke) turned against Israel and the Jews by a narrative that turns out to be false.

Third, the media jumped all over it without even checking to see if Bacile is registered as a real-estate agent, much less an Israeli (Bacile? Never heard this name, certainly not for a Jew), much less a real person.

The media’s eagerness to tell stories about Israelis/Jews behaving badly is as intense now as it was 12 years ago, and as with al Dura, this thirst for lethal narratives has dire consequences for everyone. They can’t resist stories of moral schadenfreude about the Jews. They’re killing their reputations, but it tastes too good to stop.

As this story progresses, that “Sam Bacile” was intended to be a Jew will be the pivotal element. Be just as sure that as soon as this becomes clear, the media will either lose interest, or become terribly interested in what specific offenses the Israelis committed to anger poor Nakoula.