In an interview that aired earlier this week, firebrand Al Jazeera presenter Faisal al-Qassem attacked his guest, an Iranian diplomat and journalist, and questioned the Islamic Republic’s fixation on supposedly liberating Jerusalem from Israel, while appearing to criticize the competence of Iran in its proxy activities throughout the Middle East.
Qassem, who hosts a show in which he presents opposing views on issues, and who often acts as devil’s advocate with his subjects, hosted Amir Mousawi, who has served as Iran’s cultural attaché in Brussels, Sudan and Algeria and is a frequent guest on panels as a defender of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
The host ridiculed Iran’s vow of revenge against the US and Israel for Washington’s killing of top general Qassem Soleimani, noting Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s promise in 2008 to avenge the death of top Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh (reportedly killed in a joint Israel-US operation in Damascus).
“What did Nasrallah do? He poured two buckets of water on Israel,” Qassem said.
Mousawi began explaining that Iran’s response would come, while noting that “the abilities of the resistance axis are not [equal to] those of the big devil and its collaborators,” a reference to the US and its allies.
Qassem continued his attack against Iran’s bluster, and its frequent vow to liberate Jerusalem from the Jewish state.
“You want to liberate Jerusalem, right? And what will you do with Jerusalem? Who will you join Jerusalem with?” he said.
“Will you join Jerusalem, after its liberation, with Baghdad, which is characterized by the world — these are not my words — as the world’s dirtiest capital? Will you join it with Beirut, which has become the Middle East’s biggest dump? Will you join it with Damascus whose residents are starving? Will you join it with the Houthi [rebels in] Sanaa?”
The cities mentioned by Qassem are all capitals over which Iran has sought to extend its influence.
“If you want to liberate Jerusalem for me, then I don’t want you to liberate it,” Qassem said. Referencing a Twitter poll he conducted among his followers, he added: “Yesterday I held a poll. No one wants you to free Jerusalem of Palestine for them.”
In the poll Qassem asked: “Iran and its militias always employ the slogan — liberating Palestine. I wonder — do the Arabs want to replace the Israeli occupation with the Iranian occupation?”
Of the 3,455 who voted, 70.1 percent voted no while 29.9% voted yes.
Qassem has in the past commended Israel’s treatment of its prisoners and praised its army’s “great efforts to avoid shelling areas populated by civilians in Lebanon and Palestine.”
He has criticized the Arab fixation on Palestine while Syrians have suffered the atrocities of war. Last year he was attacked for hosting IDF Arab media spokesman Avichay Adraee on his program, “The Opposite Direction.”