A Jew and Iranian Step Onto a Dance Floor — What Happens Next Could Make World Peace Go Viral
Jewish-American comedian Elon Gold and Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani ask Americans to support diplomacy with Iran in their new "Give Peace a Dance" video.
In the video, Gold and Jobrani riff on the tension between Iran, Israel, and the United States before performing their own peace-inspired dance moves.
"What’s with all the fighting? Who needs that fighting?" Gold asks in the video. “We need to give peace a chance.”
Jobrani suggests that they instead "give peace a dance" and demonstrates how to shimmy while flashing the peace sign.
The video urges viewers to sign a petition to world leaders supporting a diplomacy with Iran. "No one wants Iran to have a nuclear weapon," the petition reads. "Military strikes are the wrong way to stop it from building one ... A diplomatic solution is possible."
Jobrani and Gold have known each other for nearly a decade and agreed to do the video after being approached by the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation dedicated to nuclear nonproliferation.
"I get offers all the time to work for free and do little videos for the internet and I always say no, but this is something that was near and dear to me as an American, as a Jew, and as a human being who doesn't want to see more wars," Gold said in an interview with PolicyMic. "Who likes war? You have to be insane to like war. War is only a last resort."
Jobrani came up with the dance concept. "We thought hey, if Psy can do it, why not us?"
"The internet's all about dancing and cats and/or dancing cats. We said you know, what if we could do some sort of silly dance and also get our message across?" Gold said.
Joking aside, Gold and Jobrani are clearly serious about their message of peace.
"I really hope that we can combat the drumbeats of war with a mass effort towards peace," Jobrani said. "Any war will lead to the loss of innocent lives and I would hope that the conflict between Iran, America, and Israel could be resolved peacefully."
"No one wants to see any more bloodshed, that's just obvious," Gold said. "It doesn't take a video to show that."
BONUS: PolicyMic Exclusive Q&A With Elon Gold and and Maz Jobrani:
Lindsay Funk (LF): Let’s start with the most important question. Who’s a better dancer, Elon or Maz?
Maz Jobrani (MJ): You really need to ask? Look at the video. It's obvious I was born to dance. Elon, on the other hand, was born to wear tights. (Although he does do a mean twerk!)
Elon Gold (EG): As [Jobrani] says in the video, he wins because he's of Persian descent. I'm just a New York Jew who has no moves whatsoever; I can't even compete. But I don't think it's a competition that I even want to win. My goal in my career is never to end up on Dancing with the Stars.
LF: Have you ever been politically active before in your capacity as a comedian? What makes comedians well suited to political advocacy?
MJ: I have always talked about issues relating to the Middle East and Middle Easterners in America. I think that nine times out of 10, when you see Middle Easterners in American media, it's negative. I do hope to change that image through comedy.
I also was opposed to the Iraq war and did some stuff on that in my standup. I think comedy is a great way to get a serious point across because people laugh and only later do they realize there was a message. Some of my favorite comedians did this like Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Some of my current favorites continue to do this like Lewis Black and Jon Stewart.
LF: What makes you think now is the right time for peace and diplomacy?
EG: First and foremost, the wild maniac Ahmadinejad is out. Supposedly there's a more moderate voice now, so there's hope right there. That's the beginning of hope.
LF: PolicyMic is a news organization aimed at millennials. What kind of impact do you think millennials can have on such a large issue like nuclear non-proliferation?
MJ: I think that millennials can have a huge impact. If we get the numbers that Psy did for "Gangnam Style," we could have a revolution. Give peace a dance, millennials!
The "Give Peace a Dance" campaign is sponsored by the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation devoted to nuclear nonproliferation. The "Give Peace a Dance" video was produced and directed by Portal A.