By Elizabeth Berney
The Men’s Club of the Great Neck Synagogue and the Great Neck-based Jewish Political Education Foundation (JPEF) presented Lt. Col. (Res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli scholar of Arabic culture, lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and research associate of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, on Sunday, Jan. 29.
Men’s Club Vice President Dr. Rob Knepper welcomed guests to the presentation, and Men’s Club Steering Committee member and JPEF Vice President Dr. Paul Brody, who arranged Dr. Kedar’s appearance, led the singing of “Hatikva” and the “Star-Spangled Banner” prior to introducing Dr. Kedar. Dr. Brody cited Los Angeles Times’ Edmund Sanders’ description of Dr. Kedar as “one of the few Arabic-speaking Israeli pundits seen on Arabic satellite channels defending Israel.”
Dr. Kedar became famous after appearing on Al-Jazeera in Arabic, defending Israel’s right to Jerusalem by telling the Arab world, in fluent Arabic, that “Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years, when your (pre-Islamic) forefathers were drinking wine, burying their daughters alive and worshipping idols.”
The speaker stressed the importance of the U.S. moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He stated that in Israel, almost everyone, including the left, understands the importance of such a move. He noted that if we surrender to the demands and threats of terrorists if the U.S. embassy is moved, this appeasement will invite more demands and terrorism, and increase the appetite of the terrorists.
He also explained, “Muslims understand that if they get Jerusalem, they will get all of Israel,” and that’s why they hammer away at Jerusalem. “They know that Jews will become discouraged, and many will give up if the Jewish people lose Jerusalem.” Therefore, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is very important and “way above all other considerations” for showing that Israel will be in existence forever.
Qatar, which Dr. Kedar said is Israel’s worst enemy because it works quietly behind the scenes, allocated $500,000 to target removing Jerusalem from Israel, including money to obtain the UNESCO action, and to buy media, journalists and academics to come out against Israel’s right to Jerusalem.
He also said that the Palestinian Arabs also understand the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people and therefore seek to obtain it. Dr. Kedar displayed a Palestinian Arab keffiya-patterned scarf, which has a drawing of Jerusalem at one end that reads “Al Quds (Jerusalem) is ours” and, at the other end, has a picture of the entire map of Israel with “Palestine” written above it.
Dr. Kedar played a video of a Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian cleric introducing the Muslim Brotherhood’s then-presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi in 2012, proclaiming Morsi as a leader who will work to ensure that “our capital of the United States of Arabs shall not be Cairo, Mecca or Medina. The capital of the United States of Arabs shall, Allah willing, be Jerusalem.”
The speaker said he believes that President Trump’s heart is in the right place regarding Israel, much more so than the Obama administration or Hillary Clinton. He also discussed the Iran deal, stating that pressure was needed for a good deal but, that in 2009, Obama signaled to the Iranians that he was taking pressure off of them. He expressed that Obama wanted the Iran deal, which resulted in Iran obtaining everything it wanted in the deal.
At the conclusion of the lengthy and enthusiastic discussion between Dr. Kedar and the audience, Dr. Brody said that Dr. Kedar’s informative and insightful presentation was among the most comprehensive in the long history of the Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club.