Mordechai Kedar at Stop Islamization of Nations conferences in New York in 2012 and Melbourne in 2014
Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University who likes to be introduced as director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (which is still “under formation”, despite having been first announced back in 2011), is a popular figure among US Islamophobes.
In 2011 Kedar wrote an article for Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Quarterly entitled “Shari’a and violence in American mosques”, which claimed that 81% of US mosques promoted “violent jihad”. His co-author was David Yerushalmi, the lawyer behind the movement to ban sharia law in the US. Kedar is also a regular contributor to David Horowitz’s FrontPage Magazine. But his closest links are with Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.
When Geller and Spencer launched their organisation Stop Islamization of Nations in January 2012, Kedar was one of a handful of individuals who gave their immediate support to this enterprise, becoming a founder member of the SION advisory board. In September 2012 he was a star speaker at SION’s New York conference. In March this year he was on the panel of presenters at the 1st International Symposium on Liberty and Islam in Melbourne, which was jointly organised by SION and the Q Society. You’ll note that his name appears third on the bill, just below those of Geller and Spencer.
Earlier this month, following the killing of three Israeli youths, Kedar recorded a radio interview in which he offered his views on “Middle Eastern culture.” It went like this:
Kedar: “A terrorist, like those who kidnapped the boys and killed them, the only thing that will deter them, is if they know that either their sister or mother will be raped if they are caught. What can we do? This is the culture that we live in –”
Interviewer, Yossi Hadar: “– Yes, this sounds bad, but…”
Kedar: “It sounds very bad, but this is a lesson. This is the Middle East. Only the knowledge that –
Hadar: “Well, we can’t do things like this –”
Kedar: “I’m telling you, I’m talking about them, I’m not talking about what we can do or not do. I’m telling you what they live in. This is the only thing that deters a suicide bomber. If he knows that when he pulls the trigger, or blows himself up, his sister will be raped. That’s it. That’s the only thing that will bring him back home, to keep the honor of his sister. This is the culture of the Middle East. I didn’t create it, but this is the situation.”
In a statement to Haaretz, Bar-Ilan University said: “Dr Kedar did not call and does not call to fight terror with anything but legal and moral means. Dr Kedar wished to stress that there are no means to deter suicide bombers, and used the example of rape as an exaggeration.”
Update: Haaretz reports: “feminist activists today sent a letter to Bar-Ilan University president Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, in which they decried Kedar’s ‘words of incitement that grant legitimacy to Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Israeli civilians to commit rape, and endanger both Israeli and Palestinian women. Kedar’s words echo expressions that treat rape as a remedial practice, although it is a war crime’.”