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martes, 5 de julio de 2011

Criticize Israel And Lose Your Career: Alison Weir


Alison Weir

 

 

By Kourosh Ziabari

 

About Alison Weir

If you’ve ever tried to search for reliable information and analyses which expose the concealed and obscured side of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict, you’ve surely come across to the website “If Americans Knew.” This website belongs to a non-profit organization which focuses on the Israeli – Palestinian conflict and the foreign policy of the United States toward the Middle East. “If Americans Knew” publishes commentaries and articles that the American mainstream media pusillanimously shun and reject because of their fear of the influential Zionist lobby which predominantly rules the U.S. administration and Congress. “If Americans Knew” releases statistical reports on the history of Israeli – Palestinian conflict including the number of Palestinian casualties, the number of children murdered by the Israel Defense Forces, the number of Palestinians detained in the Israel jails and the number of Israel’s illegal settlements on the Palestinian lands.

American freelance journalist and researcher Alison Weir is the founder and executive director of “If Americans Knew.” She has written several articles and compiled investigative reports on the Israeli Palestinian conflict and provoked the furious and frantic criticism of Zionist organizations such as Anti Defamation League. Her articles have appeared on a number of media outlets and news websites including Counter Punch, Antiwar.com, The Link, Znet, Los Angeles Times, Greenwich Post, Poynter.org and Washington Report for Middle East Affairs.

Alison Weir is at the forefront of combating the biased coverage of Israeli – Palestinian conflict in the mainstream media and through her sincere efforts has revealed the plight of the Palestinian nation under the occupation of Zionist regime. She believes that criticizing Israel in public will cost a journalist his career. She says that it’s far less damaging for an American journalist to write critically of the United State government than of Israel.

What follows is the complete text of my interview with Alison Weir in which we discussed a variety of topics including the dominance of Israeli lobby over the U.S. administration and Congress and also the biased coverage of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict by the western mainstream media.

 

Kourosh Ziabari: Ms. Weir; Let me start with the question that, what would really happen if Americans knew? What would happen if they knew that their taxes go to empower an occupying regime which kills women and children ruthlessly, massacres innocent civilians relentlessly and destroys their homes unjustifiably?

Alison Weir: They would be outraged and would demand that this stop. I have found that when I speak to groups around the country the most common question I receive is, “What can we do about this?!”

KZ: What made you think of establishing “If Americans Knew?” Actually, what were your motives for taking such a sensitive step?

AW: When I returned from my first trip to Gaza and the West Bank, I was determined to tell Americans what was going on. I felt that while I could probably occasionally get articles into the mainstream media, the context would remain so distorted that they would make little difference. Therefore, I felt it was essential to begin an organization that would work to get the information straight to the public in as many ways as possible and that would also study and expose media malfeasance on this issue.

KZ: What difficulties did you face while working on this project?

AW: One of the most difficult aspects is raising enough money to sustain the organization. The good news is that we have been able to keep going for almost ten years. The unfortunate reality is that there’s never been enough money to go beyond a paid staff of about 2-3 people. Zionist organizations of all sorts have extremely large staffs, extensive offices, etc. They also have a great many people of sufficient wealth that they can work on this issue without compensation. We’re in a far different situation.

KZ: Have you ever been pressured by the Zionist-controlled mainstream media or the Israeli lobby in the United States not to talk of Israeli regime critically?

 

AW: I don’t recall being pressured by the Israeli Lobby directly. Instead, they frequently try to pressure local organizations not to have me speak.

Mainstream media organizations also don’t pressure me directly. Rather, they simply don’t report about my information or inform their audiences about the existence of If Americans Knew. Democracy Now is among this group.

One book editor commissioned an article by me and then attempted to censor what I wrote.

KZ: Have you ever been threatened or seriously intimidated for the content which you publish?

 

AW: Yes. I received a death threat in 2003. You can read the details here. We periodically receive obscene or harassing emails and phone calls from Zionists. There are websites that misconstrue my work and that defame me, including the very powerful Jewish “Anti-defamation League.”

There are infiltrators in the pro-Palestinian movement who initiate whispering campaigns against me and work to prevent groups from inviting me to speak and from using our written materials. This often fails; sometimes it succeeds.

Recently a man knocked my phone from my hands. You can see this here.

Once when I tried to go to Palestine I was stopped at Ben Gurion Airport, held in a detention cell for 28 hours, and deported. Twice I have been briefly detained by Israeli soldiers while trying to film incidents in the Occupied Territories.

KZ: Several renowned politicians, academicians, activists and writers have likened Israel’s treatment of the subjugated Palestinians to the deplorable situation of the blacks under the South African Apartheid regime. From the former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan and from the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu to former Israeli Knesset member Uri Avnery, many people believe that Israel undeniably resembles aspects of the South African Apartheid regime. What’s your viewpoint in this regard? Does the Israeli regime have the features of an apartheid state?

 

AW: While no two situations are ever identical, it is clear that Israeli actions are a form of apartheid. As you note, South African experts who have visited Palestine have stated this and they are clearly in a position to know.

The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa commissioned a legal study of the Israel-Palestine situation to “scrutinize the situation from the nonpartisan perspective of international law, rather than engage in political discourse and rhetoric.” Their 15-month investigation found that “Israel, since 1967, is the belligerent Occupying Power in occupied Palestinian territory, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.”

In addition, inside Israel itself there is systemic discrimination against non-Jews.

KZ: In your recent article, you referred to statistical studies which reveal that primetime network news shows report on Israeli children’s deaths at rates up to 14 times greater than they report on Palestinian children’s deaths. The same is applicable to the other aspects of mainstream media’s portrayal of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. For example, we clearly witnessed the exercise of double standards by the Western media during the Gaza War of 2008 – 2009. Why do the American media treat the Israeli – Palestinian conflict so unfairly?

 

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