from the new book "Against Our Better Judgement"
(Video YouTube, MP3 Audio)
is president of the Council for the National Interest,
created by ambassadors and former Congressmen in 1989
and executive director of If Americans Knew, a nonprofit
organization she founded following an independent
investigation as a freelance journalist to the West Bank
and Gaza in early 2001. She writes and speaks widely on
Israel-Palestine, and is considered the foremost analyst
on media coverage of the region. Her book on the history
of US-Israel relations will be published in February.
Her articles have appeared in Censored 2005, The
Encyclopedia of Palestine-Israel, The Washington Report
on Middle East Affairs, CounterPunch, Editor &
Publisher, The Link, and other books and publications.
She has spoken in England, Wales, Qatar, Baghdad,
Ramallah, Asia Media Summits in Kuala Lumpur and
Beijing, on Capitol Hill, and at numerous American
universities, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford,
Berkeley, Georgetown, the Fletcher School of Law and
Diplomacy, and the Naval Postgraduate Institute. In 2004
she was inducted into honorary membership of Phi Alpha
Literary Society at Illinois College. The award cited
her as a: “Courageous journalist-lecturer on behalf of
human rights. She is the first woman in history to
receive an honorary membership in Phi Alpha.” The New
York Times reported of her presentation: “When the
speech ended, Ms. Weir was met with thunderous applause,
and across the room there was a widespread sense of
satisfaction that someone was saying what needed to be
said.” Former US Senator Tom Campbell stated: “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.”
Alison Weir, president of the Council for the National
Interest and executive director of If Americans Knew.
Thank you. There are full citations in my book [
Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how
the United States was used to create Israel ] for
everything that I'll be saying, and some of it will be
quite surprising. So I want you to look at the
citations if you would like.
For most of
my life, I knew very little about Israel-Palestine. I
was deeply aware of the Nazi holocaust, sympathetic to
Israel, and had seen the movie Exodus.
But then in
fall of 2000 the departure of my youngest child for
college coincided with the eruption of the second
Palestinian intifada with its images of children
throwing stones against tanks, and I finally began to
pay attention to a distant part of the world that I had
thought had little to do with me and my family.
When I paid
attention, I noticed how one-side the news coverage
seemed to be, providing far more information from and
about Israelis than Palestinians.
curious, I looked into what the internet had to offer
and discovered a wealth of information directly from the
region from Palestinians, Israelis, and others that
revealed a far darker reality than our media were
reporting – a reality in which Israel’s massively
powerful military, it appeared, was using extreme
violence against a population that was largely unarmed,
killing many and injuring multitudes.
strategy, I read in a report by an Israeli academic, was
to keep deaths below the level that would trigger world
outrage, while maiming as many as possible; a common
practice was for Israeli snipers to target knees and
eyes. In the first month alone over 7,000 Palestinians
were injured, including numerous children.
little of this was being reported by one of my main news
sources, NPR’s Linda Gradstein, and I began to notice a
pattern of media filtration that continues through to
today, in which some facts are repeated and some never
While we are
repeatedly told that rockets are fired from Gaza into
Israel, we seem never to be told that over 10 years of
largely home-made rocket fire has killed a total of 29
Israelis – nor do we learn that during this same period
Israeli forces have killed 4,000 Gazans.
We tend to
hear, often in detail, about Israeli children who have
been tragically killed. We hear far less often about the
Palestinian children who were killed first, and in far
larger numbers. It is my view that all of these deaths
several months of researching such information, I
finally decided I needed to go and see for myself if
things were truly as bad as I was beginning to believe.
I quit my
job as a small town weekly newspaper editor and traveled
over to the region as a freelance reporter, traveling
throughout the West Bank and Gaza in February & March
2001 – long before rocket fire from Gaza – and took
photographs of what I saw.
returned, I began an organization to tell Americans the
facts on this issue.
I also began
to study it intensely. I was especially curious about
the U.S. connection, reading book after book by
respected authors and scholars.
completely unprepared for what I found.
an extraordinarily powerful and pervasive special
interest lobby of which I had previously been almost
surprising, I discovered that this was just the latest
incarnation of a movement that has been active in the
U.S. for over a century. A movement called “political
Zionism” – its adherents are called Zionists – that has
profoundly impacted my nation and others, and yet that
many Americans do not even know exists.
that political Zionism, a movement to create a Jewish
state in Palestine, had begun in the late 1800s, and
that by the early 1890s there were organizations
promoting this ideology in New York, Chicago, Baltimore,
Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland.
By the 1910s
the number of Zionists in the U.S. approached 20,000 and
included lawyers, professors, and businessmen - and was
becoming a movement to which, as one historian put it,
“Congressmen, particularly in the eastern cities, began
there were 200,000 Zionists in the U.S., and in 1948
there were nearly a million.
politicians from both parties increasingly saw Zionists
as potential voters and donors to curry or at least
placate, the U.S. state department opposed Zionism,
believing it was counter to both U.S. interests and
Taft’s Secretary of State Philander Knox stated in 1912
that Zionism involved “matters primarily related to the
interests of countries other than our own.”
commission that studied the situation in Palestine in
1919 concluded, “the project for making Palestine
distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.”
American statesman Dean Acheson stated that supporting
Zionist objectives would “imperil not only American but
all Western interests in the Near East.”
Chiefs of Staff reported that a Zionist proposal “would
prejudice United States strategic interests in the Near
and Middle East,” and predicted, “the Zionist strategy
will seek to involve [the United States] in a
continuously widening and deepening series of
and memos go on and on...
time, however, Zionists were working strenuously – and
ultimately successfully – to combat such wise
employed a wide variety of strategems – from open public
advocacy to various covert activities. Their initiatives
targeted every sector of the American population –
including Jewish Americans, the large majority of whom
for many decades were either non-Zionist or actively
anti-Zionist, and who still today most likely are
misinformed on what is being done allegedly in their
In 1943 a
Zionist organization, in the words of its leader,
launched “a political and public relations offensive to
capture the support of Congressmen, clergy, editors,
professors, business and labor.” A directive ordered:
“In every community an American Christian Palestine
Committee XE "American Christian Palestine Committee"
must be immediately organized.”
report crowed: “We reach into every department of
failed to accede to Zionist demands, an American rabbi
named Baruch Korff fomented a plan to drop incendiary
bombs on London that was only prevented when a young
American aviator divulged it to the Paris Police. 25
years later Korff, his terrorist past expunged from the
public memory, became close to President Richard Nixon,
influencing his Middle East polices. Nixon jocularly
called him “my rabbi.”
most surprising discovery of so many surprising findings
involves an extremely well-known and highly regarded
Supreme Court Justice – Louis Brandeis.
a 1978 article in the respected scholarly journal
American Jewish Historical Quarterly, by Dr. Sarah
Schmidt, an Israeli professor of Jewish history at
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a book by Peter
Grose, former editor of Foreign Affairs, diplomatic
correspondent for the New York Times, and associate at
the JFK School of Government Harvard, Louis Brandeis was
a leader of “an elitist secret society called the
Parushim, the Hebrew word for ‘Pharisees’ and
Schmidt and Grose, this society promoted Zionism
throughout the U.S. Its initiates underwent a solemn
induction ceremony in which the inductee was told:
about to take a step which will bind you to a single
cause for all your life...... until our purpose shall be
accomplished, you will be fellow of a brotherhood whose
bond you will regard as greater than any other in your
life–dearer than that of family, of school, of nation.”
“The members set about meeting people of influence here
and there, casually, on a friendly basis. They planted
suggestions for action to further the Zionist cause ...”
“As early as
November 1915,” Grose writes, "a leader of the Parushim went around suggesting that the
British might gain some benefit from a formal
declaration in support of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine.”
directed Zionist activities secretly from his Supreme
Court chambers through his loyal lieutenants – one of
whom eventually became a Supreme Court Justice himself,
another particularly influential one: Felix Frankfurter.
A number of
authors report that Brandeis was a close friend of President Woodrow
Wilson and used this access to
advocate for the Zionist cause, at times serving as a
conduit between British Zionists and the president.
some Zionist leaders bragged, and British officials,
rightly or wrongly, believed that Zionists had played a
significant role in the U.S. decision to enter World War
individuals, both Jewish and Christian, attempted to
oppose Zionist endeavors.
Dorothy Thompson. According to the Britannica
Encyclopedia, Thompson was “one of the most famous
journalists of the 20th Century.”
graced the cover of Time magazine, had been profiled by
America’s top magazines, and was so well-known that a
Hollywood movie featuring Kathryn Hepburn and Spencer
Tracey and a Broadway play starring Lauren Bacall, were
based on her.
been the first journalist to be expelled by Adolph
Hitler and had raised the alarm against the Nazis long
ahead of most other journalists. She had originally
supported Zionism, but then had visited the region in
person. She began to speak about the hundreds of
thousands of Palestinians that Israel had violently
forced out in its founding war to create a Jewish state
on land that was already inhabited, and narrated a
documentary about their plight.
viciously attacked in an orchestrated campaign of what
she termed “career assassination and character
assassination.” She wrote: “It has been boundless, going
into my personal life.”
her column and radio programs, her speaking engagements,
and her fame were all gone. Today, she has largely been
erased from history.
coming decades, other Americans were similarly written
out of history, forced out of office, their lives and
careers destroyed; history was distorted, re-written,
erased; bigotry promoted, supremacy disguised, facts
replaced by fraud.
people know this history. The excellent books that
document it are largely out of print, their facts and
very existence virtually unknown to the vast majority of
Americans. Instead, false theories have been
promulgated, mendacious analyses promoted, chosen
authors celebrated, others assigned to oblivion.
Orwell once wrote: “Who controls the past controls the
future: who controls the present controls the past.”
Perhaps by rediscovering the past, we’ll gain control of
the present, and make a better future for all our
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