“For the good of both peoples, the Separation Wall must come down, the Israeli control over the lives of Palestinians must be defied so that a secular democracy where all Israelis and Palestinians live as equals can be established in our shared homeland," says Miko Peled, Israeli writer and peace activist.
Peled gave a public lecture, sponsored by the Queensland Council of Unions, under the theme, "Moving towards a democracy in Israel/Palestine," at the TLC building here on September 23.
Peled is the son of one of Israel's most famous generals, Matti Peled, who went from Israeli war hero to peacemaker. Miko Peled's new book, The General's Son, will be released early next year.
"This is a crucial moment in the Middle East," Peled told the audience of around 80 people. He noted the recent controversy around the boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) campaign to boycott Israeli-owned chocolate shop Max Brenner in Australia.
The fact that it's a "Jewish business" has got "nothing to do with it," Peled said. Max Brenner, which is part of the Strauss group of companies, "supports a terrorist organisation, the Golani Brigade," which was involved in the massacres of Palestinian refugees in Beirut, and the invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008.
"Australians should boycott any business, Jewish or not, which supports the Israeli military," Peled said.
"Israel has been on a mission to destroy the Palestinian people for over six decades. Why would anyone not give solidarity to the Palestinian people?"
He gave a summary of the history of Israeli attacks on the Palestinians, from 1948 on. The original expulsion of the Palestinians from their land was "a systematic ethnic cleansing of people from their homes.”
He said the Israeli invasion of Gaza in December 2008 is "etched in my memory as a day of shame for the Jewish people.
"Israel has no intention of giving up any part of its territory. Zionism and peace are incompatible.
"Where is there going to be a viable Palestinian state established? The only viable solution is a united, non-racial state -- a free, pluralistic democracy.
"To claim that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is shameless. Israel and its military have committed war crimes.
"People of conscience must embrace BDS," he added. "Boycott and sanctions are totally legitimate tactics in trying to stop this Israeli armed juggernaut.”