Scoop News: Former Israel Defence Intelligence Officer In New Zealand
By Selwyn Manning - Scoop Media co-editor
A former colonel in the Israeli Defence Force who specialized in Middle East intelligence and security is in New Zealand heading a small delegation and met today with representatives of New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Ministry. Dr Col. Eran Lerman is the executive director of the American Jewish Committee's Israel/Middle East Office in Jerusalem.
Dr. Col. Eran Lerman.
Research shows Dr. Lerman had a long career in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and documents published with the American Jewish Committee show Dr. Lerman spent most of the last 18 years in the Directorate of Military Intelligence Research and Production Division, rising to the rank of Colonel and holding the position of Assistant for Strategic Analysis.
He also served as a member of the Israeli delegation to Arab-Israeli peace talks and multilateral negotiations in the years 1992-1995, working on issues of arms control and regional security.
A spokesperson for New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Emma Reilly, confirmed that MFAT officials met with Dr. Lerman today in Wellington.
Emma Reilly said: "Officials met with Dr Eran Lerman today at the invitation of Israel's Hon. Con David Zwartz, who coordinated the visit.
"Discussions covered the situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories, New Zealand's relations with Israel, and other topics related to the current Middle East situation," Emma Reilly said.
Dr. Lerman is a third generation Israeli who left the IDF in 1989. He studied at Harvard University, graduating with a mid-career degree in Public Administration at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government as a Wexner Fellow.
In a research paper to the Jerusalem Centre Of Public Affairs, Dr. Lerman wrote warning Israel policy makers of the dangers of Hizballah and stated that Hizballah is a proxy terror organization of Iran: "In this, Hizballah effectively serves as a proxy for the Iranian revolutionary regime and its "conservative" wing of unreconstructed revolutionary radicals who follow the line set by the Imam, Ayatollah Khomeini. The rule of the Imam is a revolutionary recasting of Islamist ideology, totalitarian in its mode and in its borrowings from modern European political models."
NZ Foreign Affair's Emma Reilly said: "Dr Lerman is an informed commentator on Middle East affairs with a relevant background. We are always interested in the perspectives of well-informed people about the Middle east, and especially the Arab-Israel dispute."
She added MFAT "does not know which other government agencies Dr Lerman was visiting".
Dr. Lerman met yesterday (Thursday November 3 2005) with members of the University of Auckland and significantly with Political Studies senior lecturer, Paul Buchanan (See... Scoop Video report.). Mr Buchanan is Director of the Working Group on Alternative Security Perspectives at the University of Auckland.
Scoop understands the visiting Israelis claimed to have nothing to do with the re-opening of the Israeli Embassy in New Zealand but agreed that New Zealand's handling of the Israeli-Passport fraud case was detrimental to the flow of intelligence information to New Zealand that originates from Israel.