On May 14, 2012, in a public forum and concert entitled "Hawks and Doves in the Garden of Peace," Israeli American activist Miko Peled will present his watershed book The General's Son: the Journey of an Israeli in Palestine (pub. Just World Books, June 15, 2012). Writes Alice Walker in her foreward:
"There are few books on the Israel/Palestine issue that seem as hopeful as this one. First of all, we find ourselves in the hands of a formerly Zionist Iraeli who honors his people, loves his homeland, respects and cherishes his parents, other family members and friends, and is, to boot, the son of a famous general whose activities during Israel's wars against the Paletinian people helped cause much of their dislocation and suffering. Added to this, long after Miko Peled, the writer, has left the Special Forces of the Israeli army and moved to Southern California to teach karate, a beloved niece, Smadar, a young citizen of Jerusalem, is killed by Palestinians in a suicide bombing. Right away we think: Goodness. How is he ever going to get anywhere sane with this history? He does."
The program takes place at the Writers Guild Theatre in Beverly Hills, where a Q & A will be moderated by Palestinian American author and UCLA professor Saree Makdisi. The program will be preceded by a concert for peace with the Palestinian-Jordanian virtuoso performer Naser Musa and his friend and Israeli counterpart, Academy-Award© winning musician and composer Yuval Ron. Copies of the new book "The General's Son" will be available for purchase and signing by the author.
Is the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict at an impasse because of the faltering peace process, or are conflicting narratives about the founding of Israel or the Palestinian "Nakbah" largely to blame?
Each year around mid-May, while Israel and the Jewish community celebrate the independence of Israel, Palestinians and the Arab community commemorate "Nakbah Day" on May 15, remembering the "catastrophe" that overcame historic Palestine. In "The General's Son" (with a forward by Alice Walker) Miko Peled continues the ground-breaking peace work begun by his hawkish father, General Matti Peled, who after the 1967 war, became one of Israel's strongest advocates for the two-state solution.
Read more about the book.
Opening first with beautiful music and song by the Naser Musa-Yuval Ron concert, this event will feature Miko Peled with his call for a new vision and a way forward out of the morass that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Based on the myths and sacred cows that his book "The General's Son" challenges with new information about 1948, 1967, the "peace process" and the threat of war with Iran, the event will look for consensus about how we can all work together for a more pacific future.
"Hawks and Doves" is produced by the Levantine Cultural Center with support from Friends of Sabeel, LA Jews for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace and many prominent members of both the Jewish and Arab community. The program is one in a long series of public conversations on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict presented by the Levantine Cultural Center since its founding in the summer of 2001. Levantine programs use cultural diplomacy to address complex issues, while endeavoring to bridge political and religious divides. Says event producer Jordan Elgrably, who recently produced "Sarah's War"-a critically acclaimed play on the conflict-"Peace is not a luxury, it is a responsibility we must own for our children."
May 14, 2012, 7 pm, "Hawks and Doves in the Garden of Peace," Writers Guild Theatre, 135 S. Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills 90211. Tickets $35 front section, $25, mid-section, $20 rear section, $15 students. Call 323.413.2001 for information and reservations. More info online at levantinecenter.org. This event is a benefit for the new Levantine Cultural Center, coming in 2013.
ABOUT THE BOOK
"The General's Son" from Just World Books is a remarkable book that may reframe the peace dialogue in the United States. It has earned praise from a range of political figures and analysts with a commanding knowledge and influence in the international affairs world. Says Uri Avnery, veteran Israeli peace activist and former Knesset member, "Matti Peled, the general of the title, was a remarkable personality. An underground fighter, a combat soldier and an architect of the Israeli army that won the Six-day War, he was a militaristic hawk before becoming an outstanding peace activist...In this candid account, Miko Peled tells us how he followed in the footsteps of the general, from parachutist to fighter for peace, although his beloved 12-year-old niece was killed by suicide bombers. A fascinating story that provides much food for thought."
Notes Walid Khalidi, General secretary, Institute for Palestine Studies (Washington DC, Beirut, Ramallah) "Miko did not automatically follow in the footsteps of his remarkable father-a hawkish general turned Arabist and early proponent of a two-state solution in dialogue with the PLO. Instead, we are privileged to accompany the author on his own fascinating internal odyssey-a journey of self-education and cumulative critique of Zionist premises and Israeli practices culminating in poignant advocacy of a unitary binational state anchored in common humanity."
Miko Peled (b. 1961) is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. He was born in Jerusalem into a well-known Zionist family. His grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father, Matti Peled was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and the Sinai. Miko's unlikely opinions reflect his father's legacy. General Peled was a war hero turned peacemaker. The general clearly stated that contrary to claims made later, the 1967 war was one of choice, and not because there was no existential threat to the state of Israel. He then dedicated his life to the achievement of Israeli Palestinian peace. Once a two-stater, today Miko believes in a binational democratic state for Israelis and Palestinians living together in what was Mandate Palestine. Visit mikopeled.wordpress.com.
Saree Makdisi (b. 1964) is an American literary critic of Palestinian and Lebanese descent, specializing in 18th-19th century British literature. He also writes on contemporary Arab politics and culture. He is the author of "Palestine Inside Out, an Everyday Occupation" and other books. Makdisi currently holds the title of Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCLA. Born in the United States, his father, Samir Makdisi, is a Lebanese professor of Economics at the American University of Beirut and his mother, Jean Said Makdisi, is a Palestinian independent scholar (formerly of Beirut University College). He is the nephew of the late literary scholar, Edward Said. In 2009, Makdisi gave the Edward Said Memorial Lecture at Adelaide University. He spent his early years in the United States, moving to Lebanon at the age of eight. While he grew up in a Christian family, they lived in a largely Muslim neighborhood in Beirut. Visit sareemakdisi.net.
Yuval Ron World-music artist, composer, producer, educator and peace activist, Yuval Ron works internationally in film, television, dance and theater. Among his many honors, he was invited to perform for the Dalai Lama, for Pir Zia Iniyat Khan (Head of the Sufi International Order), and has produced albums of Turkish master-musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek. In 2006, Yuval won an Oscar for the musical film, "West Bank Story," and in 2004 received the Los Angeles Treasures Award. He is the recipient of prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Composers Forum, California Council for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. Visit yuvalronmusic.com.
Naser Musa is recognized by critics of Middle Eastern music as a talented singer, a gifted songwriter, an 'ud virtuoso, a valued composer, and a versatile studio musician. He has composed, arranged, and recorded numerous projects in the Middle East and in the United States. He has recorded with pop stars Shakira, Beyonce and Michael Sembello, and has shared the stage with Lebanese vocalists, Sabah and Ragheb Alame, and Egyptian vocalists, Hani Shaker and Hakim. Naser's 'ud was heard on the soundtrack of the film "The Passion of the Christ" by director Mel Gibson. Visit nasermusa.net.
Please RSVP to 323.413.2001.
The event is sponsored by:
Levantine Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Friends of Sabeel
LA Jews for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace
Rabbi Leonard Beerman, Bana Hilal, Amani Jabsheh, Lillian Laskin, Tony Litwinko, Souhail Toubia et al.