Monday, June 22

Israeli Policy Advisor on Iranian Jewry's Security & Israel (Updated Audio)

Dr. Eran Lerman (Photo: Dave Bender - All Rights Reserved)

Israel’s incoming Deputy National Security Advisor for Policy, Dr. Eran Lerman, says that while growing riots and unrest in Tehran and other parts of Iran over disputed presidential elections may herald a Persian “Prague Spring,” the outcome for Iranian Jewry may be far less idyllic.

By Dave Bender -

In an hour-long talk given in Atlanta on Tuesday, June 16, Lerman addressed the possibility of sharper, US-led international sanctions to rein in Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in the wake of recent Korean missile tests and suspected Iranian cooperation:

“The dam, if you wish, which has already been cracked by North Korean behavior, will be brought down with another crack in Iran. What will come flooding in is an arms race in the region, and beyond the region which will pose a very real threat that this will soon come to blows — nuclear blows — one thing that any American administration is obliged to prevent from happening.”

Lerman, in a multi-city US speaking tour prior to taking up his new post in July, discussed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy speech in the wake of US President Barack Obama’s Cairo address, during a wide-ranging talk given at Congregation Young Israel of Toco Hills.

Turning to historical aspects of the situation, Lerman listed several parallels between Western reactions to Iran’s behavior during and since the 1979 revolution, and the ascent of Nazi Germany before and during WWII:

"Anyone who’s familiar with the internal workings of the Nazi regime would know that it was much more brittle in '38 than it seemed from the outside. This is something that has stuck in my mind since I read [William] Shire’s majestic work — and there’ve been many confirmations of this ever since: the German High Command was convinced that this little, crazy corporal from Munich is taking them to a war in which they will be wiped out — turns out to be true.

"They feared that if the British and French stand up to [Hitler], and the Russians will come in on the side of the Czechs – the Czechoslovak state had a formidable military – and that this combination will be much too strong for Germany to handle. And so they prepared, in case he came back from Munich with war on his hands, to arrest him – and 'terminate his contract,' as they say.… The commander of the German forces had a plan laid out — in detail.

"Instead, the 'genius' comes back victorious. And we paid for this mistake with 60 million lives, [and] six million Jews, and many others."

When this reporter asked about the fate of the estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Iranian Jews remaining in Tehran and other major cities who could be held as hostages against any Israeli military action against the Tehran regime, Lerman, a past deputy chief of the Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence Strategic Planning department, sighed and offered a bit of black humor:

“Look – we have to bitterly joke about these people who were give an opportunity to leave in [19]50, were given an opportunity to leave in [19]70, were given an opportunity to leave in [19]80, and are still there – therefore [the Iranian authorities] will hang them as ‘Zionists.’

“But bitter jokes aside,” Lerman said, “it is an issue,” and cautiously offered an even more bitter prospect – that of Israel being forced to choose between self-preservation and the security of an ancient Jewish diaspora community: “It is simply something that we will have to weigh against the larger [pause] considerations that may involve our very survival [pause] as a people and as a state.”

Go here for more, including audio excerpts of the talk.

(This post's audio & text will be updated - check back soon)

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