- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2014

Some parents and students at a San Diego-area high school are demanding answers after an Israeli writer railed against his homeland and the United States’ treatment of minorities during a speech at the school’s 2014 graduation ceremony.

“I, as an Israeli, grew up much like you, privileged and unaware of the inequalities the injustices imposed upon Palestinians by my country,” said Miko Peled, author of the book The General’s Son, during a speech at Coronado High School, EAGNews.org reported Thursday.

“And because the country is so segregated, I as an Israeli, never met Palestinians. In fact, I was taught that Palestinians are my enemies. Only to discover, many years later, that actually they’re not,” he continued. “I was also taught to fear and distrust Arabs and Muslims because they, too, hate me. And it turns out, they, too, do not.

“Fear not people who call God by a different name, people who have a different skin color or whose eyes are shaped different than yours,” Mr. Peled said.

The activist then pivoted to the United States, urging graduates to “demand more” from their leaders.

“Why is it that almost half of the 2.5 million prisoners in the U.S. are African-Americans, though they only make up 12 percent of the population?” he asked. “Why is it that after kidnapping millions of Africans and enslaving them for centuries and forcing them to live under racist laws and segregation as though they are less than human, why are their children and grandchildren not compensated for the holocaust that was inflicted upon their ancestors, but instead are incarcerated in disproportionate numbers.

“While it’s true we have a Martin Luther King Day and even an African-American president, the vision of a truly free and just society where racism no longer exists has all but died. And the struggle that began with great men like Martin Luther and Malcolm X must be revived,” he said.

Mr. Peled also bemoaned the injustices of the Native Americans and the foolishness of American wars, EAG News reported.

The speech angered many parents who flooded local news sites and social media with demands that school officials apologize for scheduling such a controversial speaker.

One resident, whose grandson graduated, wrote an opinion piece in The Coronado Eagle & Journal, urging other residents to hold school officials accountable, EAG News reported.

“[W]e were subjected to a one-sided political rant from Mr. Peled on just how awful both Israel and the Unites States are, full of opinion and thin on actual facts,” wrote Mitzi Butler.

“I am not angry at Mr. Peled for his speech. He is what he is and states his beliefs quite openly. What I am questioning here is who made the decision to invite him to be the keynote speaker,” she continued. “His talk was totally inappropriate for a high school graduation where people did not ‘volunteer’ to come and hear his views. Parents sitting around us were upset and some graduates were texting their families asking; ‘What the heck is going on here?’

“The person or persons who actually selected him to speak should be held accountable to the good citizens of Coronado. The taxpaying citizens should know what kind of decisions are being made by people being paid with their precious tax dollars. Hopefully this sorry episode will be remembered on election day for the school board members,” Ms. Butler concluded.

Ms. Butler’s letter received a comment from a local resident, under the handle “jjs110,” who said this wasn’t Mr. Peled’s first appearance at Coronado High School and that he actually lectured a class “three or four years ago.”

The commenter said that when people heard Mr. Peled was going to speak at graduation, a few of them tried to get different speakers for a more balanced perspective.

“A few of us contacted the school and asked to be given the same amount of time to speak to the same class and give a balanced perspective, and wouldn’t you know it, the school completely ignored these offers and shunned our attempts to discuss the matter,” the commenter said.

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