Which should be weekly fare in a free country, PBS host Tavis Smiley featured the well known Israeli dissident Miko Peled on his show. This actually happened on February 2. Quite amazing given the suppression and self-censorship around Israel’s brutal and illegal treatment of Palestinians.
Peled is the author of The General’s Son, Journal of an israeli in Palestine.He is also the son of Matti Peled a high ranking officer of the 67 war who told the Israeli brass to give back the occupied territories if Israel didn’t want permanent war. The General went on to do a Ph.D. in arabic studies, heard the cry of Palestine and dissented. The son carries on.
Now living in California and an articulate critic of Israel,Miko Peled roared through the 13 minutes Smiley afforded him. How did he differ from his grandfather and father?
With my grandfather, there’s no way… This idea that you come from Europe, take over the land from the people who were there, kick them out– I don’t see how you can legitimize that… But those were different times, times when Europeans could come to other countries and do what they wanted. That was what Zionism was all about…
Israel is now one state. Jews and Palestinians, whether in the West Bank or in Israel, live very close to each other geographically, even though completely segregated. So geographically, it’s impossible to do. There is no area you can slice out and say ‘This will be an Israel and this will be a Palestine. It has been a single state for decades now, governed by the State of Israel, but I get privileges, the Palestinians do not. In other words, it gives exclusive rights to Jewish people at the expense of Palestinians.
I don’t see the need for a Jewish state because the Jewish state is precisely the problem. You can’t have a Jewish state in Palestine without infringing on the rights of the indigenous people, which are the Palestinians.You cannot have a Jewish state in an Arab country unless you are going to infringe upon the rights of the local people. You have to kick them out because they won’t have rights.
Smiley spoke about how controversial the issue was in the USA because Obama and Trump continue their blind support for Israel. How did Peled, an Israeli come to his stance?
In my journey, what I did, I went from my very comfortable, very safe, very clean sphere where I thought everybody lived like this into a sphere that was no more than 10 or 5 minutes away from me as it happens where Palestinians live in a completely different reality, different laws.
You know, they get 12 hours of water per week, whereas we have as much water as we could possibly want. You know, things like that. They live under different laws than we do, you know. They get arrested, they get treated differently than I do, which I didn’t know.
So I took that step even though everybody was telling me it’s dangerous over there. There are terrorists over there, they’re going to kill you over there, it’s against the law to go there. You’re committing a felony by going there.
But I did it anyway because it was important for me to see what is happening here and how do we resolve this and why is there this conflict? There’s no easy way to conduct this. You have to confront your fears. You have to confront the reality. You have to confront the fact that there’s racism involved, and it’s not an easy conversation, certainly not in the beginning.
Bravo for Tavis Smiley for allowing this voice to appear.Of course he had to balance Peled with a fairly zionist rabbi but that’s TV in America—and Canada.