A Zionist on Iranian Television

I knew it was coming.

"The Zionists have all the money."

So said Ghayth Armanazi, the Syrian former head of the Arab League, sharing a panel with former British ambassador to the United States Peter Jay, Workers International activist Tony Saunois, and me. Hosted by conservative British radio personality Nick Ferrari, the debate was on Press TV in London for broadcast in the month of December and the topic was the future of the world under Obama. Press TV is the Iranian English-language television station in London. Many American and British colleagues were astounded that I, a "Zionist neocon," had agreed to be on the panel, but my inclination is that Ahmadinejad's station needs to hear my kind of voice. If the Battersea-based broadcaster is gracious enough to invite me, deliver me to and from in a beautiful limousine with a driver infinitely more courteous than your average London minicab operator, ply me with gorgeous food -- and I am still alive -- and provide a mostly friendly audience and production crew, I am game for the challenge.

Getting back to Armanazi's observation: this had arisen from a question about the new Obama administration's attitude towards the "Israel-Palestine" situation. He wanted to make it abundantly clear to the mostly youthful, Muslim audience that the Jews control everything and that Obama got to this place with Zionist money! What an irony: As I explained with barely contained apoplexy, immensely rich "Zionists" (sic) like George Soros were the kind of Jews who wanted Bush out of office by any means possible. I reminded Mr. Armanazi and the nearly 100% Muslim audience that 77% of American Jews are reported to have voted for Obama and that traditionally 87% of American Jews support the Democratic Party.

This did not help. The audience and panel were worried sick about another dangerous "Zionist," (sic again) Rahm Emanuel, White House chief of staff-designate. My contribution to this heated assertion was to remind the assembled panel and crowd that "Zionist cohorts" (sic) are not about to take over the world. There was a murmur in the crowd whenever Emanuel's name was mentioned -- almost a groan -- reflecting the apprehension already afoot in the British and Arab media about "son of Irgun fighter" Emanuel. (It should be noted that Frank Furedi, who appeared on a BBC Any Questions? panel with me in August, is also the son of a Zionist warrior but happens to be the founder of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain.)

The very upper-crust Peter Jay made an assertion that one hears at every fashionable London dinner party: the Palestinians have been living in one giant concentration camp for decades and their land was taken from them sixty years ago. His contempt for me and for the Zionist cause was barely containable when I ventured to counter this calumny. (In this month of December, MPACUK, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK, is using this latest mantra in a vicious piece: how dare the Jews still bang on about the Holocaust when they have created one of their own making in Palestine?)