U.K. Synagogue Bars Controversial Israeli Academic Speaker

Dr Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University is associated with anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller, who was banned from Britain last year.

Michal Fattal

A leading London synagogue has cancelled a talk by an Israeli academic who said earlier this year that the only way to deter terrorists is by raping their female relatives.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, of Bar-Ilan University, was due to speak at the Finchley United Synagogue on Monday night as part of a speaking tour in the United Kingdom organized by the local Zionist Federation, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

Finchley congregants were notified that Kedar’s appearance had been cancelled, but no explanation was given.

The federation had previously called off scheduled talks at three Jewish schools after complaints about his links with American anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller, who was banned from Britain last year.

Kedar told Israel Radio in July that "the only thing that can deter terrorists... is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."

Kedar and Bar Ilan University subsequently issued a statement that the rape statement was hyperbolic and Kedar was not recommending committing “such despicable acts”.

In 2013 comments to Israeli news site Ynet, Kedar maintained that without "an end to immigration, we will soon be hearing the death throes of the [European] continent as we know it."

Reacting to the cancellation of Kedar's talk in Finchley, federation chairman Paul Charney said that there had been “a concerted effort to smear the reputation” of Kedar, who was an “expert in the Islamic and Arabic worlds”.

But political scientist Michael Pinto-Duschinsky said that Kedar’s presence in the UK would be “toxic for interfaith relations”.