Miko Peled and Helen Thomas discuss Zionism
Miko Peled, author of the recently published, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, recently told an audience at Northern Virginia’s George Mason University that, “We know today, for sure, that the creation of Israel was made possible through a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing that was conducted by Jewish militias that involved massacres, that involved terrorism, and that involved the wholesale looting of an entire nation.”
Peled made these comments during a November 2011 panel discussion in which veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas also participated. The whole event is now on YouTube, here.
Peled grew up in a deeply Zionist family. His father, General Matti Peled, was was one of Israel’s highest-ranking generals during the 1967 war in which Israel defeated three Arab armies in what Peled says was pre-emptive strike. During that war, the Israeli military occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights. In an earlier generation, Peled’s grandfather signed the Israeli Declaration of Independence. “You can’t get much more Zionist than that,” says Peled.
And yet, Peled’s perspectives changed deeply through the grief he experienced at the loss of a beloved niece, who was killed by Palestinian suicide bombers, and through meeting, befriending, and hearing the stories of Palestinians who had also lost loved ones to violence. He writes in his book that when he was growing up in Israel, he never knew or talked to any Palestinian people; and he never did so until he moved to the United States as an adult.
Now, Peled travels regularly to the occupied West Bank to participate in nonviolent demonstrations protesting Israel’s rights abuses and continued illegal seizure of Palestinian land. He also speaks out for Palestinian rights in the United States and many other countries.