Miko Peled talking:
– You said in 2005 you came to the conclusion that this idea of a two state solution wasnt possible nor was it right, that there should be as you said in the last segment, one state voting for all. Not a Jewish state. Now that goes against the core of your fathers beliefs because as much as he was for compromise and mitigating the occupation and so, he certainly was very much for a Jewish state.
it was a big departure. It was a realization that its all one state anyway already. IN other words, by taking the West Bank, Israel didnt begin the occupation of Palestine. Israel completed the occupation of Palestine. The occupation of Palestine began when the state of Israel was established in 1948. The majority of Palestine was occupied then. Two areas that were left out were the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for reasons that had nothing to do – well that had to do only with Israeli internal politics. They decided to stop where they decided to stop and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were delineated by Israel.
20 years later, the opportunity presents itself and Israel takes the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and from that point on, people refer to occupied Palestinian territories as just those 2 areas. And that becomes the narrative. Then for my father and people like my father who were more liberal Zionist and believed in compromise, that was where the compromise was going to be. Were going to allow the Palestinians to establish their own state in these two areas that the state of Israel was willing to give them that were favorable to the state of Israel. So theres really no compromise on the basic idea of Zionism, on the basic ideology, on the fact that the majority of Palestine is now Israel.
But the reality is that again Israel didnt begin the occupation in 1967, it completed the occupation and when we look at what the commanders were saying as they took the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was that we had finished the job. We completed the job that they felt shouldve been completed in 1948. The officers of 1948 were very frustrated that they didnt take the West Bank then. But it was a political decision and it was done. Now they had the opportunity now that theyre commanders, now theyre generals, and the opportunity presented itself. They took the West Bank and by the way Golan Heights which they wanted to take anyway because the opportunity was there. What they call the so-called fog of war. That was it. From that moment on, Israel began destroying Palestinian towns and neighborhoods in the West Bank and building massively for Jews only in the West Bank.
When you look back thats exactly what Israel did 20 years earlier or from 1948 up to that point in every other place in Palestine. In the Galilee, in the Negev Desert, on the coast, everywhere. In other words, Israel building for Jews only on Palestinian land is not unique to the West Bank. It is what happens across the country. So, that was the realization that you know, that moment when I realized this has actually been happening everywhere. None of this is reversible. The only way forward if we care for justice, some sort of at least of justice for the Palestinians is to undo the state of Israel and establish a real democracy with equal rights, the Palestinians have an equal voice and that is really the only way in which Palestinians are going to have any rights. Because the state of Israel will always preclude that.
the equation between what it means to be a Zionist and what it means to be Jewish is more relative than you think. You know in the early days, most Jewish communities rejected Zionism. Today Zionism has become I think Brent Rosen coined this phrase kind of the new secular religion of North American and European Jews and many others perhaps.
– most people dont know that in the early days, most Jewish committees were anti-Zionist.
in the early days if we look at the Jewish culture and Jewish communities in the early days and beginning in the early 20th century and really all the way up to the establishment and the state of Israel and even beyond I would say, Jewish communities viewed the Zionists as a bunch of crazies. You know, what is this crazy idea about going to some Arab land and creating a state for Jews there. And the reality is that very few Jews went. No good Jewish family wanted their children to become Zionist. They wanted them to become good Jews and do whatever it is that Jews do.
– Its a very interesting quote from Truman in some of the papers that came out later where he even though himself he was somewhat anti-Semitic and a certain many of his political allies were, he was actually ready after World War II to let many of the Jewish refugees into the United States apparently and was visited by some of the Zionists who talked him out of it. This thing he says, I dont understand these people. We want to give them refuge and the Zionists are telling us no, send them to Israel where theres nothing.
the Zionists were they were ideologic and they had an agenda. Like I said, they created this myth that the Jews are a nation and that the bible is a history book and that Palestine is the homeland of the Jews. And that all Jews are the descendants of this ancient tribe that used to live there 3,000 years ago with the ancient Hebrews. You know if you look at European Jews, if you look like me or even if you look at me, I dont look like I have any descendants that come from the Middle East, you know. But this was the accepted story and today if you talk about North America, look at history. Look at high school history books here in the United States.
When they learn about ancient times, they learn about the ancient Hebrews as the Jews. They learn about Moses, Abraham, and King David as though they were historical figures even though none of these are historical figures. Theyre all biblical. So I mean this narrative really took off, really developed, and was really accepted here.
They secularized the bible. The Zionists secularized the bible. So they adored King David and they adored all these other figures and they made them sound like they were completely secular. And they tied them in to their own kind of secular Zionist socialist national socialist I suppose in a way, ideology, which is what Zionism was and what Zionism is. And they hated the Arabs. But even more than the Arabs, they hated the orthodox Jews who rejected Zionism, and they hated Jewish communities.
Back in that day until there was some kind of compromise between some of the orthodox communities who became Zionists. But the main core of the orthodox communities rejected and many still do the idea of a Jewish state. And Jewish communities who wanted to remain where they were. Who were happy to be in Europe or in America or wherever it is that they were, in Iraq and so forth, and showed no interest in coming.
this is my life. I think it was kind of under I kept it hidden and kept it under control in a way under the surface as long as things were I suppose, working fine. But after she was killed and then peace talks fell apart in 2000 and thing after thing after thing, it just, it was something in me that I had very little control over. And I dont see myself as a target as all.
What I see is that for reasons that I dont fully understand because my father was a general and the background that I have, that gives me a voice. And if I can use that voice to say these things and bring about some kind of sanity and bring about some kind of justice back to Palestine, then Im doing the right thing. So really it wasnt until my book came out in 2012, the end of 2012 that I kind of moved beyond teaching karate and this became what I do full time is writing and speaking and so forth, and traveling about this issue and going to Palestine and causing as much trouble as I can while Im there.
Thats really what I do now. But I feel that this is I dont feel Im targeted. Quite the opposite actually.
the idea of Israel, the ideology that established Israel, the reality in Israel is racist and racism. Supporting Israel is supporting racism. You know its like supporting apartheid in South Africa is supporting racism. Supporting mass incarceration of blacks in America is racism. Theres certain things that are just racism. Theres no compromise. Theres no gray area. There is no way that you can support Israel and not be racist. Because it is a racist project. Its a racist colonial project and its brutally violent.
I think if we start describing the violence and the racism and the laws, people wouldnt believe it, its so horrifying. So, that is my issue. That we need to get rid of that particular racism. Now the fact that some people hate Jews as well as Arabs, as well as blacks? Well fine. The racism goes all around. Usually racism is kind of colorblind in a way. People hate Jews, they hate blacks, they hate everybody else. Thats fine.
The point is that this is racism. There is no way to support a Jewish state in Palestine without supporting stepping all over the rights of Palestinians.
– BDS, Boycott Divestment Sanctions.
my involvement in it is that Im a big supporter. Im not so much in the inner works of it. But the call to boycott divest and impose sanctions on Israel, came from Palestine. It came from Palestinian civil society. Probably the largest coalition of Palestinian organizations and groups and individuals that were put together. Came out with this call resting on the experience of South Africa where BDS had a big part in bringing down apartheid and saying this is how youre going to help them. This is how people around the world can gather together and support the calls for justice in Palestine.
Its proven to be very dedicated, very principle of course its nonviolent. Israel tries to paint it as though its terrorism and its violent. Theres nothing violent about it at all. The reason its being successful is because of its dedication and because of the fact that the people are involved are principle. And its working because again its a smart form of resistance. Now theyve had several campaigns which have gone very well against the caterpillar and for us, now against HP. The level of I do agree. I dont think that anybody anticipated that it would be this powerful at this point and Im glad it is. I wish it was more powerful. We know that the APAC convention, every presidential candidate talks about BDS as though its a terrorist threat. As though its something that has to be killed and destroyed. Israel just had a major conference on how to fight BDS.
Israeli channel 10 news came here to the US and did a 5 part series about the BDS in America and how is it that our good friend America allows this anti-Semitism to take over and so on. The interview meeting between many Jewish activists here in the US. So, its definitely gaining ground. Its doing the right thing and I think the thing that bothers Israel the most or maybe several things, one is that you cant kill it because its not armed. So, they dont really know what to do with it.
The other thing is that there is a sense that it is working. In other words, Israeli academics feel isolated. Israeli products are being taken off shelves. The campaigns, the BDS campaigns are working and theyre gaining a lot of ground and theres a sense of that theres a legitimacy to Palestinian resistance. If theres a legitimacy to Palestinian resistance, that is biting away from the legitimacy of the state of Israel. You know, the two go hand in hand and like I said earlier, the legitimacy is the holy grail. We cannot let that go. Israel will kill and destroy in order to maintain and protect the legitimacy. This is what theyre trying to do. But I believe theyre failing. Theyre spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to fight BDS and trying to fight what they call [inaud.] BDS which is the all the Palestine solidarity that exists and theyre failing miserably. I mean the conversation on campuses. With students for justice in Palestine all over the US, is growing, is improving, is becoming much more vigorous today than anybody wouldve thought would ever take place on campuses and in churches in America. Like I said, its dedicated, its the right thing to do and its were only scratching the surface.
I think the transformation of this very violent and racist regime that is controlling Palestine today which is what we call the state of Israel, the transformation of that into a secular democracy with equal rights is inevitable.
Ill give you several reasons. To begin with, the realitys unsustainable. You have over 2 million people living in the Gaza Strip. The population of Gaza Strip just went beyond 2 million a few weeks ago. Now the Gaza Strip for anybody who doesnt know is a 5 minute drive from Israeli towns and cities inside of Israel. You have 2 million people living in one of the most densely populated areas of the world with no access to clean water. With no access to basic most healthcare. With very little access to nutrients, to food. Theyre already food insecure which is by United Nations definition, one step before hunger and a child in Gaza with a curable cancer will die while a child 5 minutes away in Israel of the same curable cancer will live. This is a reality that cannot be sustained.
they used to talk about Nelson Mandela as a terrorist in the late 80s and the United States still did not support boycotting South Africa as late as the late 80s. In 1994, Mandela was already president of South Africa. So these things when they start to change, they change very fast. I think the reality on the ground is unsustainable regardless of what Israelis might think or regardless of what American politicians might think. It is not sustainable.
You have a population within Israel proper theyre Israeli citizens who are Palestinians who live in what can only be described as refugee camps in some cases. Some of the towns in the neglect and the racism is really something that people rarely talk about and need to talk about. An entire population of citizens who live really under the Israeli Secret Police. Youve got this reality in the West Bank where Palestinian ghettos are being created. It is not sustainable. The majority of the population are Palestinians right now, between the river and the sea.
BDS is growing. Palestine solidarity is growing. The Palestinian resistance is gaining more and more support and more respect. Youve got noble [inaud.] and youve got big names, Alice Walker and others, Roger Waters, supporting the Palestinian cause. There is a momentum here that cannot be stopped. I will be surprised if that takes more than 10 years for this process to actually take place.
The General’s Son: From Privileged Zionist to Activist for Palestinian Rights – RAI (3/3)
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