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David Menashri
photo by Rhonda Spivak


Prof David Menashri, Director of Iran Studies says this will accelerate processes inside Iran for overthrow of regime

by Rhonda Spivak, March 15,2010

The best way to weaken the Ahmadinejad’s Iranian regime is to sound the siren of “Iran’s abuse of human rights,” Prof David Menashri, a founding director of Tel Aviv University's Center for Iranian Studies, told an audience at the University of Winnipeg, in an event put on the University on March 8 as part of it’s programming to counter Israel Apartheid Week.
Menashri  who is a Senior Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies said that “Iran’s human rights abuses should be on the front page of newspapers every week,” as this will accelerate the processes inside Iran for regime change. Economic sanctions against Iran are the second best option for weakening the current Iranian regime after raising the issue of human rights abuses, according to Menashri.
Menashri was introduced by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President of the University of Winnipeg, who thanked his friend Jaqueline Simkin, a former Winnipegger, for telling him about Prof. Menashri. 
Menashri, who speaks Persian lived in Iran conducting research and a field study for two years immediately prior the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979.
Menashri said that “it is no co-incidence that the people of Iran went to demonstrate in the streets against the Iranian regime in June 2009 shortly after President Obama had opened dialogue with Iran.”
According to Menashri, the Iranian people took to the streets because Obama’s steps to open dialogue with the Iranian Regime “showed the young people of Iran that the U.S. was good, not bad” and this only served to weaken Ahmadinenajad’s regime internally and encouraged protests.
Menashri added that the Iranian people felt empowered to protest with a Democratic U.S. President in place because they believed that the Democrats are strongly associated with ‘ civil rights, human rights and democracy” such that the “Iranian people believed that He [President Obama] would do something [to help them].” However, Obama disappointed the Iranian people when he was “silent for ten days and didn’t say a word” after they began demonstrating.
Menashri believes that Obama ought to have “ said something about respecting human rights” while the Iranian people were out demonstrating, similar to what he did regarding the upheaval in Egypt recently but “he [Obama]missed an opportunity to speak to the Iranian people.” Additionally, had Obama spoken out, the U.S also could have “arranged with other leaders to also speak about the need to respect human rights in Iran”, which would have encouraged the protesters.
Regarding the fact that for the first time since 1979 Iranian ships went through the Suez canal on their way to Syria, Menashri said “There is no way to stop it”, and the Iranians took the opportunity to test Egypt after the fall of Mubarak.
“What should be done about this? Let them [the ships] go. Ignore it. At the time of truth Israel, will be able to deal with it,” said Menashri, who added that Israel “shouldn’t attach too much significance to it.” Menashri referred to the Turkish Floatilla that tried to reach Gaza and said that Israel’s reaction made it into “a big story,” indicating that ought not to be done with the Iranian ships.
Menashri, who indicated that he is part of “the Israeli Left,” and believes there is “no alternative to two states [Israel and Palestine] for two people” said “I was pleased when President Obama was elected. But I am disappointed because he didn’t back up his words with deeds….I am not happy he sent messages to the Muslim world (he went to Cairo, and Saudi Arabia etc) but didn’t come to Israel.”
In Menashri’s view, “The problem of Iran is the problem of the free world,” noting that Iran refers to the U.S. as the great Satan, while Israel is only the small Satan,” and therefore the solution to the Iranian problem is not necessarily “Israeli made.”
Menashri has published numerous books and articles about Iran is currently preparing for publication a new study Iran, Islamic Fundamentalism and the Middle East Peace Process and a new study on The Jews of Iran
Editor’s note: Less than a week after Menashri spoke here on March 15, the Israel Navy seized the Victoria cargo vessel bearing a Liberian flag  in the Mediterranean Sea that was carrying advanced weaponry, including anti-ship missiles that could could alter the balance of power in the region.

Israel believes the weaponry originated in Iran and was destined for Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli navy missile boats approached the Victoria cargo ship as it passed some 320 km. off Israel’s coast. One of the Israeli vessels reached the captain on the radio and asked for permission to board, which was given.

For more on this, and to see video of the IDF boarding the ship, go to:
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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