Interview with Alison Weir
Alison Weir is currently the founder and executive director of If Americans Knew, an American nonprofit organization that works to inform Americans on the facts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with particular attention to the US connection and American media coverage.
“In fall of 2000 when the Palestinian Al Aqsa Intifada began, I grew curious about this issue. Like most Americans I am neither Jewish nor Muslim/Arab and knew very little about Israel-Palestine. When I then paid close attention to US news reports about the uprising to learn what was going on, I noticed that the news seemed largely one-sided. We heard from and about Israelis in great detail, but only rarely from and about Palestinians.”
Wishing to know the whole story, not just one side, Alison began to look for information on the Internet and was both astounded and disturbed at what she learned – that Palestinians of all ages, almost all of them unarmed, were being killed and injured in extremely large numbers by Israeli forces. “I also learned for the first time that the US government was giving a massive amount of American tax money to Israel – far more than to any other nation – making Americans responsible, I felt, for what Israel was doing.” Added Alison
After several months of learning this type of information, Alison finally decided that she needed to see for herself she quit her job and travelled over to Gaza and the West Bank in February-March as a freelance reporter.
“I found the Palestinian people extremely welcoming. I was invited to stay in people’s homes and I felt completely safe – except when I came too near the Israeli military. I discovered a rich culture, excellent universities, and a diverse population. I also discovered the extreme oppression they were living under, the daily difficulties of something as simple as trying to go to school or work when there are Israeli checkpoints blocking you. I also saw children who had been horribly injured; bereft, grieving parents; and destroyed neighborhoods and lands. I saw things that are seared into my memory, and that now I work month after month and year after year to tell other Americans about.
Q. Why do you think the American media misinforms or withholds some information from its people regarding the Palestinian Israeli conflict?
I think there are numerous factors in the poor coverage. Often there are pro-Israel owners, editors, and reporters; there are extremely well-organized and well-funded pro-Israel institutions that pressure the media; pro-Israel advertisers threaten to pull their advertising.
Q. Have you received threats? And if yes, aren’t you afraid for your safety? Would you continue your mission to let Americans know what is going on regardless?
I received a death threat several years ago after I took part in a debate on the University of California Berkeley campus. You can read about that at http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/death_threat.html This was the worse threat but there have also been other more veiled threats through the years.
I am a bit worried at times but will not stop my work.
Q. Do you see that the work you are doing is making a difference? Are Americans learning the truth?
It is starting to have an impact…. more and more people are beginning to wake up and work on this issue.
Q. How did taking on this mission to raise awareness in the Public eye affect your life personally?
Profoundly… and now my children also work on it. Even my six-year-old grandson drew a picture about Palestine in his kindergarten class!
Q. Do you regret giving up your job and pursuing this role you took upon yourself?
I feel honored to work on this.
Q. Can you tell us about your book?
The goal is to tell Americans how political Zionists manipulated Americans in order to create a state in Palestine that ethnically cleansed the indigenous population and that continues to oppress these people and steal still more land. My objective was to write a short, clear, accurate and compelling account about information that almost no one knows.
Q. Do you foresee a solution and peace anytime soon?
I believe this is possible in my lifetime; I’m doing all I can to make this come true – and joining so many others around the world and in Palestine to realize this dream.
Alison Weir ended her interview with this message, “By joining together we can create the world all our children deserve. We cannot let ourselves be divided from one another; our power will come from our unity, our strength of purpose, our commitment to principle, justice, humanity, truth, and compassion. Thank you so much for inviting me to be in your magazine.”
To help Alison’s cause she is always in need of funding and raising awareness, if you would like to contribute and get more information please visit her website: http://ifamericansknew.org/
A video worth watching. Alison Weir on Off the Charts, talking about Palestinian/Israeli conflict.
For Arabic click here:
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