How an Iranian and Jewish Comedian Stand Up For Peace

VIDEO: Give Peace a Dance

Last year, the conventional wisdom in Washington was that military strikes on Iran were imminent. In cafes in San Francisco, however, very few people were even aware that there was a dispute. As a bicoastal organization, Ploughshares Fund wanted to do something to help make sure that the whole nation was involved in a discussion about U.S policy toward Iran. 

But how to break out of the policy bubble? At the suggestion of some of our board members and supporters, we reached out to Maz Jobrani, a popular Iranian American comedian for assistance. In the early 2000s, Maz had spearheaded an effort to diffuse anti-Arab feeling after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks through an Axis of Evil comedy tour. We wondered if we could do something similar. 

The idea surfaced to do an online video featuring Maz and an Israeli or Jewish comedian working together to create peace between Israel, Iran and the United States. Working with Portal-A, a San Francisco based video firm, we reached out to Jewish stand-up comedian and actor Elon Gold. Together, Maz and Elon fleshed out the concept of doing an internet dance for peace. 

This week, as Presidents Obama and Rouhani come face to face at the UN General Assembly, Maz and Elon are going live on the internet with their call for world leaders to do whatever they can to overcome politics and reach a diplomatic agreement over Iran's nuclear program. It's a lighthearted video, but with a serious intent. They believe, as we do, that this issue is too important to leave to the talking heads. Iranians just elected a new, more pragmatic President. Israelis are seeking a more secure region. Americans clearly don’t want another war in the Middle East. It’s time for their voices to be heard.

 See their incredible dance and add your name to their call at


Screen Shot and video by Portal A