Miko Peled’s Journey from Israel to Palestine

Born into a prominent Zionist family, son of a famous Israeli general in the Six-Day War, author, activist and karate instructor Miko Peled discusses how his views on Israel and Palestine evolved over time to what they are today. The author of the memoir The General’s Son:  Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, and, later, Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation, Peled joined Israel’s Special Forces after high school but became disillusioned with the Israeli military, particularly following Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon. After he left the military, he resumed the interest he’d had in karate in high school and became a sixth-degree black belt, moving first to Japan and then to San Diego. In 1997, his 13-year-old niece was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Peled joined a Jewish American-Palestinian dialogue group in San Diego, where he found the Zionist assumptions he’d grown up with challenged. He describes the fear that he first felt when meeting Palestinians in San Diego and, later, when driving with his wife in the West Bank for the first time. This fear is manufactured and indoctrinated into Israelis, he said, but he came to learn that Palestinians were not terrorists but other human beings systematically oppressed by the Israeli state. Peled says Palestinians live in a prison with Israelis as their jailors and advocates for a secular democracy that will provide equal rights to all. He says even apart from the fact that Israel has made a two-state solution impossible by building Jewish settlements throughout Palestine, he believes a single democratic state will be better not only for Palestinians but Israelis too. He says currently Israel is a racist, apartheid state and Americans should demand that their public officials withhold money, weapons and diplomatic support from it until it changes. In the interview, he speaks about his feelings about his late father, General Mattityahu Peled, who advocated for the 1967 war but later called it a “cynical campaign of territorial expansion” and criticized Israel for not returning the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights and making peace. Though his father has sometimes been lionized as a man of war who became a man of peace, Miko Peled says his father’s Zionist views are significantly different from his own.


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