It is my great pleasure to introduce you to my dear friend Dr. Daniel Dana. As you will see from his biography below his amazing life and great achievements read like a film script and I hope that a filmmaker will seize the opportunity to make a film about him. Dr. Dana has an unparalleled knowledge about what is happening today in Iran. and as as you will see from the article following the bio he has important insights into the future relations between Israel and Iran following the collapse of the current regime. I hope that local organizations will take the opportunity to invite Dr. Dana to give his inspiring talks. His fascinating autobiography “Abayef – Bridgebuilder Between Faiths” is also available.
Dr. Daniel Dana bio
Dr. Dana was born in Tehran on 22 November 1945 into a Moslem Shiite family. After serving in the Iranian and police and army, he graduated from Tehran University Law School with a Law Degree, and from 1978 to 1984 studied at the Paris University where he received an M.A. and PhD in Comparative Constitutional Law. As a leader of the Javan paramilitary group, he commanded the force which captured the Iranian missile gunboat Tabarzin. For his anti-Islamic Republic activities he was sentenced to death in absentia, but he returned to Iran in 1986 and was allowed to work as a lawyer. In December 1989 he left Iran and came to Melbourne where he converted to Christianity and began to translate Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses into Persian. In 1994 he came to Israel to do research and was forced to remain because the Australian government pronounced him persona non grata and a risk to Australian national security. He remained in Israel and worked for several years with the International Christian Embassy. In 1995 he established the PLIM Peace and Love International Movement to bring the message of peace and love between the sister nations of Israel and Iran. Over the years it has brought hundreds of Iranian opposition, cultural and religious leaders to Israel. A few years ago he was diagnosed with a blood disease which only Middle Eastern Jews suffer from, and then learned that his family was in fact originally Jewish and had been forcibly converted to Islam. Among his literary works are a study of Shiite Theology, a history of the Bahais in Iran, and a history of the Shirazi Jewish community, as well as editing the memoirs of Zion Ezri, the first Israeli ambassador in Iran. He also travels widely promoting the message of Israel and Zionism.
IRAN AND ISRAEL
During the past forty years of the Shiite Islamic Revolution in Iran, as much as the government’s policy and propaganda has been seeking to attack Israel and increase the ugly face of anti-Semitism in Iran, so large numbers of women and the younger generation in general have become increasingly interested in Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East and also in Judaism and the concept of Monotheism. In fact the women have shown themselves on the whole to be more courageous than the menfolk in Iran and more likely to lead a future popular revolt to overthrow the oppressive regime.
In addition, the majority of Iran’s 55 million younger generation are also pro-Israel. Why is this so? We can attribute this to the fact that they profoundly dislike the Shiite and pro-Islamic dictators who rule the country and who are causing extreme damage to the economy, ecology, national integrity and Persian dignity of Iran as well as many other kinds of damage. They firmly believe that the Shiite ideology has already died in Iran and does not need even a coffin, and needs only to be shot into the tomb of history. Therefore, whatever the regime is supporting, for them their reaction is the complete opposite. How? It does not really need a great deal of knowledge to understand why social and public psychological reaction towards whatever the regime does can be full of hate. This is what is happening every day in Iran among the bulk of the country’s 80 million population. This is the basic reason to realize why, for the first time in history, the majority of the younger generation in a Shiite Muslim country has become interested in Judaism and most certainly in Israel as the most exciting and innovative country in the Middle East. As an old law school student in Tehran University (1970-74) I can honesty vouch for the fact that in those days over 95% of Iranian students were not interested in Israel and the other 5% were not sufficiently encouraged to defend pro-Israel ideas! Today after four decades of the Islamic Revolution the statistic in this area has been completely reversed.
As a leader of the Iranian nationalistic opposition and founder of the Peace and Love Movement for Iranian expatriates, I have met and talked with Iranian exiles in many countries, including Turkey and the USA. In the last couple of years when I was talking to a group of Iranian Opposition leaders in Paris about Captain Ron Arad and how we could help his family, via collecting information, many of them expressed the desire to volunteer to do the maximum in this regard. Also when, at another similar meeting in Frankfurt, I was talking about the Anusim Mashad Pogrom in the city of Mashad in 1839, many Shiite Muslim girls wept and shared their deep sympathy with the families. I also have the letters and notes of some Iranian Moslems who converted to Christianity and became church leaders, some of whom are interested in converting to Judaism, and I personally know a young woman lawyer in Iran who, after reading my autobiography “Abayef” which had entered Iran illegally, became interested to go to the city of Mashad to do some research about the aforesaid pogrom.
Love of Israel and interest to know more about Zionism is boiling in the hearts of many Iranians throughout the world including Iran. These are just a few of the many positive issues that have come into existence to create a future intercultural bridge between the twin sister nations of Iran and Israel We must open our eyes and ears to see and listen to them.
Dr. Daniel Dana, March 1, 2019