Alison Weir (American)

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This article is not about the British historian of the same name

Alison Weir is an American journalist, founder and executive director of If Americans Knew, and a board member of the Council for the National Interest. In both roles, she presents a source of information on the Middle East different than that usually given by the mainstream media. In particular, she reported from the West Bank and Gaza during the Second Intifada in 2001. Her continuing reporting is critical of the State of Israel position.

She has received awards from the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). She has written frequently for CounterPunch, the libertarian/paleoconservative website AntiWar.com, and for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Former U.S. Representative Tom Campbell (Republican-California), a 2010 primary candidate for governor and U.S. Senate, said “Ms. Weir presents a powerful, well documented view of the Middle East today. She is intelligent, careful, and critical. American policy makers would benefit greatly from hearing her first-hand observations and attempting to answer the questions she poses.”[1]

Criticism

If Americans Knew is one of the top ten anti-Israel groups listed by the Anti-Defamation League,[2] and ADL says her "criticism of Israel has, at times, crossed the line into distortions customarily found in the literature of anti-Semites."[3]

Commentary

Aid to Israel

As part of a debate in April 2008, she pointed out that the State of Israel receives more foreign aid than any other country, at a time when money is needed for the U.S. economy; disbursements to Egypt, Jordan and Palestine also are directly related. Examining the justification, she uses strong words to describe the formation of Israel, not reflecting the role of the United Nations or of Arab neighbors:
the facts are quite clear: Israel was created through one of the most massive, ruthless, and persistent ethnic cleansing operations of modern history. In 1947-49 about three-quarters of a million Muslims and Christians, who had originally made up 95 percent of the population living in the area that Zionists wanted for a Jewish state, were brutally forced off their ancestral land. There were 33 massacres, over 500 villages were completely destroyed, and an effort was made to erase all vestiges of Palestinian history and culture.

"Brutally forced" may be true in some areas, but other factors involved both Palestinian and Arab neighbor inspired fear, which caused some Palestinians to evacuate in fear. There were few innocent governments.

The fact is that Israel's core identity is based on ethnic and religious discrimination by a colonial, immigrant group; and maintaining this exclusionist identity has required continued violence against those it has dispossessed, and others who have given them refuge. [4]

She claims "support of Israeli independence, Israel's use of American aid consistently damages the United States, harms our economy, and endangers Americans." Couching President Harry S. Truman's decision to support Israel in political terms, perhaps overstating "virtually all State Department and Pentagon experts advocated forcefully against supporting the creation of a Zionist state in the Middle East.", she said Truman said: "I am sorry gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents." Truman's support, according to his autobiography, was partly emotional, with loyalty to a Zionist friend.

Media

In June 2010, she reported that the New York Times bureau chief for the Middle East region, Isabel Kershner is reporting on Israel's investigation of an attack on an controversial aid flotilla to Gaza. Weir mentions that Kershner is an Israeli citizen with a son in the Israeli Defense Forces.[5] Kershner does mention that Haaretz calls the investigation a "farce".[6]

References