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The Chris Hedges Report with Miko Peled, the son of an Israeli general who served in the Special Forces in the Israeli army, on the racist indoctrination and militarization of Israeli society.


The Israeli army, known as the Israel Defense Forces or IDF, is integral to understanding Israeli society. Nearly all Israelis do three years of military service. Most men continue to serve in the reserves until middle age. Its generals often retire to occupy senior positions in government an industry. The dominance of the military in Israeli society helps explains why war, militaristic nationalism and violence are so deeply embedded in Zionist ideology.

Israel is the outgrowth of a militarized settler colonial movement that seeks its legitimacy in Biblical myth. It has always sought to solve nearly every conflict -- the ethnic cleansing and massacres against Palestinians known as Nakba, or catastrophe, of 1947-49, the Suez War of 1956, the 1967 and 1973 wars with Arab neighbors, the two invasions of Lebanon, the Palestinian intifadas and the series of military strikes on Gaza, including the most recent.  The long campaign to occupy Palestinian land and ethnically cleanse Palestinians was rooted in the Zionist paramilitaries that formed the Israeli state and continues within the IDF. The overriding goal of settler-colonialism is the total conquest of Palestinian land. The few Israeli leaders who have sought to reign in the military, such as Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, have been pushed aside by the generals.

The military setbacks suffered by Israel in the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria and during Israel’s invasions of Lebanon, only fueled the extreme nationalists who abandoned all pretense of a liberal democracy. They began to speak in the open language of apartheid and genocide. These extremists were behind the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Israel’s failure to live up to the Oslo accords. This extremism has now been exacerbated by the attack of Oct. 7, which killed 1,200 Israelis. The few Israelis who oppose this militaristic nationalism, especially after Oct. 7, have been silenced and persecuted in Israel. Genocidal violence is almost exclusively the language Israeli leaders and Israeli citizens use to speak to the Palestinians and the Arab world.

Joining me to discuss the role of the military in Israeli society is Miko Peled. Miko’s father was a general in the Israeli army. Miko was a member of Israel’s Special Forces, although disillusioned with the military moved from his role as a combatant to that of a medic. After the 1982 war in Lebanon, he buried his service pin. He is the author of The General’s Son: The Journey of an Israeli in Palestine and Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.


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The Chris Hedges Report
The Chris Hedges Report Podcast
Covering US foreign policy, economic realities, and civil liberties in American society.