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Israeli Palestinian activist shares experiences

Miko Peled answers questions from attendees.

Miko Peled answers questions from attendees.

Emily Turner (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Emily Turner (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Miko Peled answers questions from attendees.

Matthew Gleaves, Staff Writer

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Miko Peled held a Q&A format lecture titled “From Israeli Zionist to Palestinian Defender” discussing two of his books on Friday, April 13. The lecture, hosted by the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement, focused on Peled’s journey growing up as the son of an Israeli general in a prominent Israeli family and the transformation he went through to become a Palestinian activist.

In preparation for the lecture international studies classes read Peled’s first book, “The General’s Son,” which talks about his experiences and how he came to the pro-Palestine stance. Associate Professor of History and Director of the CEPE Victoria Christman assigned Peled’s book because of its content.

“This conflict forms the basis for so much of the modern history of the Middle East — and beyond — that I see it as a key issue with which all international studies majors should be familiar,” Christman said. “[‘The General’s Son’] is a sort of history of the Israel Palestinian conflict told through the lens of his own autobiography, so it provided the students with a range of information about the past 70 years.”

Peled decided to write his book and give lectures because of his unique position.

“I’m promoting a very particular perspective on Palestine,” Peled said. “It’s a perspective you don’t hear a lot and a perspective many people consider too radical. I think it’s particularly important because of my background, being an Israeli and coming from a prominent Israeli family.”

Peled also lectures to inform others. He thinks Americans need to hear both sides of the conflict.

“There is no audience that’s more important to this issue than the American audience because Americans pay a lot of money to Israel in the form of foreign aid,” Peled said. “No other country in the world gets as much off Americans taxpayers as Israel does. Now, if somebody is taking a bunch of your money and using it for something, and you’re not resisting, then you must agree.”

Peled talked about the weight of voting in America and that voting for representatives with similar beliefs is important.

“We vote for our members of Congress, they vote to send all this money to Israel, and most Americans don’t know why or what it’s going for or how much it is,” Peled said. “Unless you’re informed, you may be allowing this money to do some terrible things. You might be complicit in something that is horrifying and you might not know it.”

Peled’s lecture and book argues that a large part of the problem lies in the occupation of the Jewish people and not with Jewish people as a whole. President of Interfaith in Action Rebecka Green (‘19) talked about her takeaways from the lecture.

“I think it’s important that people hear from someone like him who comes from the side of the oppressor — as he would say — and is informing us about what really happens, to the people who most people would assume be his enemy,” Green said. “He was so adamant about it not being an issue with the Jewish people, but with the occupation. It’s with the politics. It’s with the violence.”

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