Israeli strike on Iran without US would be a ‘disaster,’ World Jewish Congress president says

Ron Lauder warns that a unilateral operation would isolate Jerusalem

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Ron Lauder (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Ron Lauder (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israeli action against Iran without American assistance would be disastrous, World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder told Der Spiegel in an interview to be published on Sunday.

A unilateral Israeli operation against Iran would isolate Jerusalem from its allies worldwide, Israel Radio quoted Lauder as saying.

Lauder raised the issue of the 2003 Iraq War, when most governments worldwide were certain that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, but afterwards it became evident that Iraq did not have such materiel.

If they erred then, it is possible everyone is erring now, Lauder posited.

Kadima MK Meir Sheetrit on Sunday also told Israel Radio that the Israeli government ought to let the Americans deal with the Iranian issue, because Israel is too small to address it properly.

He added that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak had unnecessarily frightened the Israeli public over Iran’s nuclear program.

“Now, in his UN speech, Netanyahu said that at least a year will pass until the Iranians reach the point of endangering Israel. If so, then what purpose did the fervor serve?” Sheetrit said.

Lauder’s comments came days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech before the United Nations General Assembly calling on the international community to establish “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program, such as development of a certain amount of weapons-grade uranium, after which international military action against the Islamic Republic would be agreed upon.

Netanyahu on Saturday remarked that he had strengthened coordination with the US on steps to prevent the Islamic Republic from further amassing highly enriched uranium, necessary for a nuclear weapon.

Lauder wrote an op-ed in the New York Post in January and argued that nuclear-armed Israeli submarines could provide a deterrent to a nuclear Iran.

“It’s time [the Israelis] took their submarine force and reinvented it as a strategic deterrent against a potentially nuclear-armed Iran and its terrorist surrogates seeking to literally wipe Israel off the map,” Lauder wrote.

A nuclear-armed submarine in the Indian Ocean “would recreate the kind of deterrence we saw during the Cold War, which kept enemies from attacking each other for some 40 years,” Lauder argued.

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