An Israeli academic who advocated sexual violence against Palestinian women has been hailed as an expert on gender issues by a Zionist lobby group.
Mordechai Kedar, a professor in Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv, responded to the killing of three Israeli teenagers earlier this year by saying that “the only thing that will deter” Palestinians from committing such crimes “is if they know that either their sister or mother will be raped if they are caught.”
Bizarrely, when Kedar visited Brussels in September, he was introduced as a “specialist in gender issues in Islam.”
That description was made by Tal Rabina from the Europe Israel Press Association (EIPA), which arranged for Kedar to meet journalists. Rabina’s description was based on Kedar’s own résumé, which lists Clash of Values: Gender and Family Issues as Sources of Tension between Islam and the West as one of his publications.
As The Electronic Intifada’s Rania Khalek has previously noted, Kedar’s advice was interpreted literally by Israeli soldiers during Israel’s summertime attack on Gaza. Testimony gathered by human rights monitors indicates that Palestinian men who were taken captive by Israel received threats that their wives would be raped.
For some reason, though, journalists in Brussels were either unaware of Kedar’s controversial remarks or felt no need to challenge him on them. All of the questions he was asked during his trip here were of a softball nature.
(I was not aware of Kedar’s visit to Brussels myself, only learning about it later from a video posted on the EIPA’s website. Although I have been notified about some of the EIPA’s previous events, I do not recall receiving an invitation to this one.)
Founded in 2012, the EIPA is one of the newest additions to the growing pro-Israel lobby in Brussels. It organizes press conferences for prominent Israeli figures who are visiting Europe, as well as trips to the Middle East for European journalists.
I interviewed Lempkowicz for a project on the Israel lobby that I have undertaken for Spinwatch, a group researching the “public relations” industry. He claimed that EIPA has “nothing to do with the embassy or the Israeli foreign ministry” and argued that “we are not a propaganda tool.”
That was a brazen lie. The “news” items published on EIPA’s website reflect closely the position of the Israeli government. Some of these articles acknowledge that the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) contributed to them.
BICOM says that its primary objective is to “create a more supportive environment for Israel in Britain.” Nobody who teams up with a group pursuing such a goal can seriously claim not to be a “propaganda tool.”
Indeed, EIPA appears to be modelling itself on BICOM — though, not surprisingly, Lempkowicz denied that was the case.
Mordechai Kedar cannot be considered as an objective authority. He works closely with the anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller; both belong to the team of bigots which established a group called Stop Islamization of Nations (SION).
Blaming the victim
In his two-hour Brussels presentation, Kedar tried to blame Palestinians for their own suffering.
He alleged that Gaza’s buildings had not been fully reconstructed after they were bombed by Israel in late 2008 and early 2009 and again in November 2012 because “Hamas wants to keep them destroyed.”
“They [Hamas] bring donors, bring politicians, bring journalists to show them what Israel did,” he added. “They need them destroyed to blackmail the world, unfortunately.”
Kedar even had the audacity to say that Palestinians could have “all the money in the world to pave Gaza with gold, if they want” by exploiting the gas reserves off Gaza. According to Kedar, Israel’s then prime minister Ehud Barak “gave” this gas-field to the Palestinian Authority “for free” in the late 1990s.
Just as his accusation about the destruction in Gaza ignored how the medieval siege imposed by Israel has hampered rebuilding, he overlooked how British Gas thinks it owns the energy resources off the Strip. Rather than handing over all the gas to the Palestinians, Israel has been eager to exploit it — reportedly with the backing of Tony Blair, the war criminal masquerading as a “peace envoy.”
Having watched the video of Kedar’s talk, I feel ashamed of my profession. Why do journalists fawn on an advocate of rape?