Reviewed by Ludwig Watzal – Bonn
In 1997, a tragedy struck the family of Israeli-American Miko Peled. His 13-year-old niece Smadar was killed by suicide bombers in Jerusalem. Born into a prominent Zionist military family, his father was a prominent general, who turned after the Israel’s “war of aggression” in 1967, into an advocate of peace with the Palestinians, the real owners of the land of Palestine. The tragic death of his niece served as an “eye-opener”. His personal journey from a Zionist by education, family and societal socialization into an outspoken critic of Israel’s colonial and aggressive policy is convincingly documented in his extraordinary book: “The General’s Son”.
His mother, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, reacted very unusually to the tragic death of her daughter. She did not blame the suicide bombers but the occupation policy of the Israeli governments. At that time, Benyamin Netanyhu served his first term as Israel’s Prime Minister. As a mother, she did not call for revenge because Israel’s long lasting mistreatment of the Palestinian people created people like them. Miko Peled makes it also very clear that Israeli policy has to be blamed. His mother, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, is a well-known professor for language and education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her latest book “Palestine in Israeli Schoolbooks” shows how Israeli school children are indoctrinated by outright racism and Zionist ideology. This manipulation occurs at different fields like images, maps, layouts and use of language in History, Geography and Civic Studies textbook, The manipulation by education aims at the marginalization of Palestinians and reinforces Jewish-Israeli identity.
The author himself was a victim of Zionist indoctrination that stigmatized a whole people to enemies he has had no opportunity to really know. This insanity ended when Miko Peled met for the first time Palestinian in San Diego. With these meetings began a journey from darkness to enlightenment. Step by step, he stripped himself of the taught ignorance of the so-called “other”.
Forty years later, Miko Peled followed into his father’s footsteps, General Matti Peled. He was the first famous member of the Zionist military establishment who “violated” the esprit de corps. Courageously, he debunked the Zionist mystique about the Six-Day War of June 1967. Everybody, who is not a partisan, knows that it was a war of aggression, planned by the military establishment, the second generation, against the will of the political leadership, the immigrant generation. One should read the statements by Israeli politicians like Menachem Begin or other top brass of the military elite. But neither the US nor European academics incorporate their statements into their analysis because it would destroy the myth about the Six-Day War that Zionist Hasbara (propaganda) has created.
The author combines the exceptional history of his family, the political development of State of Israel and his personal conversion to a fundamental critic of the policy of the different Israeli governments. As a former soldier he knows what he is talking when it comes to the Israeli army: It is the “best trained, best equipped, best fed terrorist organization in the world”, so Miko Peled in his speech on October 1, 2012 in Seattle. “Their entire purpose is terrorism.” What will the “Israel Lobby” and its fans in the US or Western Europe says against this realistic characterization? They will yell out: “self-hating Jew”; “Ant-Semite” would not work well against a former Israeli soldier, or their other ridiculous accusations. Presumably, they will just hush up. Nevertheless, should it occur to the public that their only argument against Peled’s very convincing arguments might be character assassinations? What Peled writes cannot be confounded by the Zionists all over the world. Even the universal weapon of “anti-Semitism” would go unheard.
Not the so-called anti-Semites or the so-called self-hating Jews have to justify their legitimate criticism of the brutality of the Israeli government policies against a defenseless people but the Zionist crowd in the US and all over the world. Peled stresses that they have to explain why a so-called “Jewish and democratic state” colonizes against international law, human and real democratic rights a people and destroy systematically their existence by house demolitions, expulsion, torture, settler and military terrorism, uprooting trees, build Jewish-only roads, establish a different law systems, one for Jews and the others for “barbarians”, or the massacre in the Gaza Strip in 2008/09 that caused the death of more than 1 400 people, most of them women and children. How the “Israel Lobby” does explain more than 30 laws that discriminate against Israeli Palestinians who live in Israel proper and are citizens of the State of Israel? More and more Jews with conscience in the US turn their back on Israel. They are fed up that Judaism is taken hostage by Zionist ideology. Norman Finkelstein’s book “Knowing too much” and Peter Beinart’s book “The Crisis of Zionism” are evidence for this theory.
Either the whites in South Africa or the whites in the south of the US did not like equal rights for “blacks”. Both racist regimes were not dissolved “by consensus”, writes Peled and he continues saying: “But Zionism like racism has to go. The Zionist state has to be replaced by a democracy.” Equal rights for both peoples are long overdue. A fascinating book.
– Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual bog “Between the lines” – http://between-the-lines-ludwig-watzal.blogspot.de/. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.