- Journalist and lecturer
- Founder and Executive Director of If Americans Knew
- Accuses Israel of human rights violations and war crimes
- NOTE: Not to be confused with the British historian and author Alison Weir.
A frequent lecturer on Arab-Israeli issues, Alison Weir has worked as an editor at Women Sports Magazine and as a freelancer for the San Francisco Examiner and Rolling Stone magazine; she authored a children’s book; and most recently she was the editor of the Marin Scope newspaper in Sausalito, California.
Deeply interested in the nature and causes of the Arab-Israeli war, Weir first traveled to Gaza in February 2001, where she interviewed a few hundred people in thirty days and developed her impressions of the conflict. Weir says she “found a situation largely the reverse of what was being reported by the American media.” “Israel is being protected,” she added, “[and] the news about Palestinians … is being distorted.”
To counter what she perceived to be a media “cover-up of appalling proportions,” she created her organization, If Americans Knew (IAK), “to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media.” The IAK website and Weir’s lectures focus on only one issue: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“We believe strongly,” says Weir, “that if Americans knew the truth about Israel and Palestine — about the massive amount of our tax money that is being given away to Israel, and about the human cost of Israel’s American-financed militarism — they would demand an immediate re-thinking of our policies in this region.” According to Weir, America’s support for Israel “makes us accomplice to war crimes and an accessory to oppression. … We [Americans] are driving the violence in this region.”
Weir’s statements vis a vis Israel include the following:
- “You call this … [Israel’s] ‘War of Independence.’ Please explain this to me. Independence from whom? From the farmers whose ancestors had tilled the land for centuries? … Independence from humanity? From morality? From normality? From everyone else in the world?”
- “People who say there are two sides to this ‘conflict’ are full of b.s. … Here there is the brutalizer and the brutalized. It’s not complicated.”
- “It is hard not to sound fanatic, over-wrought, biased. The lie is too big, the repression too complete, the Palestinians’ lives too horrible to write about reasonably.”
- “When a rare, crazed, would-be [Palestinian] freedom-fighter escapes this prison and tries to strike his oppressor, we need to read about the prison he exploded out of. Rather than an ‘inexplicable, fanatical terrorist,’ we would see what we had helped create with our aid to Israel — a terrorized victim who has tragically but inexplicably turned to violence himself.”
- “Empowered by American money, Israel is occupying land that does not belong to it.”
- “When people say Israel has a right to exist, it means that Israel has a right to discriminate.”
- “Americans have to stop this [supporting Israel]. Israel will keep shooting kids in the back until we all say, Enough.”
- “You’ve called ‘anti-Semite’ once too often. You’ve pressured one too many newspapers, one too many universities, one too many mayors.”
- “I was seeing newly, artificially, purposefully created [Palestinian] poverty. Poverty being created by America through its support of a regime that is consciously, and again, quite effectively, squeezing out people it does not want around.”
- “Historians have since written that the fact that Israel was able to attack a U.S. ship (the Liberty) and kill and maim American servicemen, with virtually no consequences, convinced Israeli hardliners that Israel could, whenever it wanted, get away with murder.”
Weir likens Israel’s Security Fence in the West Bank to the “Berlin Wall.” After the 9/11 attacks, she warned against anti-Arab discrimination in the U.S., expressing her fear that Americans might set up internment camps (for Arabs) similar to those that housed Japanese-Americans during World War II.
In October 2003 Weir garnered considerable local attention when she received a voicemail death threat after participating in a UC Berkeley debate about the Mideast conflict. When she reported the threat to the media, Berkeley police officers came to guard her office. A crowd also came to show their support for her, including UC Dean of Students Karen Kenney, who had moderated the debate, and Kriss Worthington of the Berkeley City Council. “This [the threat] is the bullying action of cowards,” Weir said. “I think it represents the fanaticism with which people defend Israel. It also shows how weak their cause is in a public debate. … Since they didn’t win the debate, they thought they would just kill us.”
Weir’s articles on the Arab-Israeli conflict have appeared in CounterPunch, the San Francisco Examiner, the San Jose Mercury-News, and The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. One piece, “Gaza: A Report from the Front,” was published in the 2001 book The New Intifada: Resisting Israel’s Apartheid, edited by Roane Carey. Other contributors to this volume included Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Glenn E. Robinson, and Edward W. Said.
In an August 2009 article published in CounterPunch, Weir wrote that Ariel Toaff, infamous for his charge that Jews had used gentile blood in religious rituals, was “one of the greatest scholars in his field” and that his blood libel had been based upon “35 years of research.” She argued that the “relentless public and private pressure” Toaff faced as a result of his claims was mainly the result of one thing: Israel’s use of “considerable, worldwide resources to interfere with the investigative process.” For Weir, the public outcry over Toaff’s scholarship only proved that other allegations against Israel – its supposed “harvesting of organs,… rampage against Jenin, attack on the USS Liberty, massacre of Gaza, crushing of Rachel Corrie, [and] torture of American citizens” – must be true as well.
Much of this profile is adapted, with permission, from Stand4Facts.org.