Several London Jewish institutions have cancelled planned speeches by a controversial expert on Israel’s Arab community.
Mordechai Kedar had been due to begin a speaking tour at Lauderdale Road Synagogue last night but the ZF confirmed it and a talk at Immanuel College had been called off. However, most of the speaking tour engagements are still expected to proceed over the coming days.
Giving a radio interview in the wake of the kidnapping of the three teenagers in Israel this summer, he reportedly suggested the only thing that could deter such terrorists is if they know, if caught, their sister or mother could be raped.
A statement from Kedar and Bar Ilan University where he lectures later clarified that he was not recommending committing “such despicable acts”. It said he was trying to “illustrate that there is no means of deterring suicide bombers, and using hyperbole, he gave the rape of women as an example” and intended to highlight “the inability of a modern and liberal law-abiding country to fight against the terror of suicide bombers”.
The ZF said organisations “cited controversy surrounding Moti” in cancelling.
Chairman Paul Charney added: “We understand the sensitivities surrounding criticism of the role of Islam in the Middle East, but given the failure of the Arab Spring and the rise of IS, we believe this is a subject that needs to be discussed. We decided to bring Moti over since he is a world renowned speaker on this issue, and frequently appears on Arabic media sources.”
The ZF said Yavneh College had also expressed concerns but head Spencer Lewis said only that there had been a suggestion at one point that Dr Kedar contributes to a session on preparing students for campus “but we did not think it necessary to add his particular field of interest to these sessions”.