Two members of US Congress tried to prevent me from giving this speech at this college!
(This is my letter that the San Diego Union Tribune wouldn’t publish)
(at the end of the video you will campus police asking to evacuate the room. Apparently there was a smoking backpack out side, it turned out that one of those electric cigarette malfunctioned.)
Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Juan Vargas and Mr. Carl De Maio all wrote letters to Dr. Roger Shultz, President of Mt. San Jacinto College urging him to cancel a lecture I was asked to give on campus. The invitation for me to speak came from the MSJC Amnesty International Club. Neither one of these public figures has ever met me, spoken to me or communicated with me in any way. Yet they saw fit to criticize, even demonize me and my views.
Rep. Hunter asked the college to “reconsider your invitation to Mr. Peled.” Calling my views : “Offensive,” “inaccurate and “incendiary.” I wonder if Rep. Hunter knows that my grandfather signed the Israeli declaration of independence, my father was a general in the Israeli army. I wonder what he finds incendiary or offensive in me calling for justice and equal rights in a free Palestine.
Rep. Vargas stated that: “His highly inaccurate comments may both mislead students and further incite hatred.” My talks call for the elimination of walls and barriers and for the establishment of a more just system in Palestine/Israel. Where exactly do I incite hatred?
Finally, Mr. DeMaio pleads, ”Don’t let him pollute your campus” because according to him, my published works are “embedded with anti-Jewish themes.” I am Jewish as is my entire family, most of whom live in Jerusalem. I have to wonder why Mr. Demaio, a self-declared Gay Republican, considers my call to end racism in Palestine “Anti-Jewish” or “polluting.”
In a review for my book “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” that was published in the San Diego Union Tribune in June of 2012 the late Steve Kowit, writes:
“For anyone wishing to understand the complex dynamics of one of the world’s most consequential and tragic conflicts, Miko Peled’s courageous, revelatory and compassionate memoir, ‘The General’s Son,’ is likely to become required reading.”
In a review written by Pulitzer Prize laureate Alice Walker, Ms. Walker writes: “There are few books on the Israel/Palestine issue that seem as hopeful to me as this one.”
A review in the Foreign Policy Journal says: “Combining a wealth of knowledge and experience, with a strong sense of human compassion and common sense, and with a compelling and forceful narrative, Peled has written a story that needs to be read by anyone interested in Palestine/Israel and the broader Middle-East in general.”
Since the book was published I have spoken on college campuses locally, including UCSD, SDSU, San Diego City College, Grosmont College, as well as on campuses around the US and Overseas. I have never experienced such a reaction.
In spite of the attempts to derail the event, the lecture at Mt. San Jacinto College enjoyed a record attendance. I commend MSJC President, Dr. Shultz for allowing the event to go on as planned and I thank the students, faculty, and Administration for their warm welcome and hospitality.