Alison Weir has weathered criticism and hate, slander and insults, in the quest for justice for Palestinians. Her organization, If Americans Knew, reconfirmed its reason for existence in the ups and downs of a recent, difficult controversy.
by Kathryn Shihadah
For eighteen years and counting, If Americans Knew has been on the front lines of a battle for a thin slice of the souls of Americans.
The issue is, for some reason, deeply controversial, and the fight has been relentless. But Alison Weir and her small team are single-minded and steadfast because they believe in their cause utterly. They believe Americans will call for justice when they are awakened to compassion for the people of occupied Palestine.
Events over the last several weeks offer an example of the definitive struggle of If Americans Knew, and the essence and the purpose of its existence.
In late August, GV Wire, an award-winning news outlet in central California, announced that Alison Weir would be coming to Clovis Community College in Fresno to speak on the topic, “Uncovered: Israel’s occupation of Palestine.”
Alison has spoken hundreds of times, all over the country and around the world. She expects opposition – because rarely does one speak critically of Israel without repercussions – and true to form, Israel partisans attempted to shut down the event.
It started with criticism of the event by several global pro-Israel organizations, among them the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). They called for the event to be cancelled, making various allegations against Alison, including anti-Semitism and white supremacist affiliation.
These allegations have been used against Alison for years – and for years she has denied them. She has explained in detail, in writing, why the claims are patently false. Yet they persist.
The fact that old, false allegations keep reappearing may suggest that Israel’s defenders don’t do their own research, but rather follow orders from organizations like ADL and AJC. (It also indicates that these groups can’t find anything new to complain about.)
This would explain why, when the criticism moved from remote to up close and personal, the same unsubstantiated accusations kept coming back in inflammatory tweets that exaggerated the false claims even further, including
- Her lies are legendary and documented over and over…
- lies about Jews repeatedly…
- Alison Weir isn’t capable of telling the truth..
- Alison Weir is the queen of lies…
- she is a bloody liar and an unapologetic racist…
- Her lies about Israel and about Jews are well known. It’s been proven over and over again.
Naturally, this uninformed anger* led to plans for confrontation (which caused some of Alison’s colleagues to worry about her safety):
- I’m actively organizing protesters for this vile Jew hater..
- There will be a huge protest next week in Fresno when she speaks there…
- It’s gonna be a peaceful, but loud protest. Really loud…
- There will be a huge protest in Fresno…
- There will be a huge crowd to protest Alison Weir..
- I’ll be bringing a huge number of people.
Ultimately, these protest threats were either a hoax intended to get the event canceled, or the agitators were ordered to stay home: no protest materialized and the evening passed without incident. The auditorium at the Clovis Community College was packed, and the audience listened to every word. The security guards who had been hired to keep the peace instead watched the presentation and applauded at the end.
Afterwards, many lined up to buy autographed copies of Alison’s book, “Against Our Better Judgment: the hidden history of how the US was used to create Israel.”
The If Americans Knew team considers this a major victory – not because we beat the opposition, or even because the First Amendment was upheld, but because the truth was told to new listeners. And when that happens, hope grows – not just IAK’s hope to make it through another fiscal year, but a much larger hope. A hope that truth will triumph – and proof that regular people can win out over big money and power. To those who routinely follow the dictates of these organizations, we hope you will acknowledge how they have failed to be honest with you, and form your own – enlightened – decisions.
Here’s where the story gets really good.
Imagine all the people
When the online attacks against Alison and IAK got loud, something beautiful happened.
When the opposition got ugly, supporters rose up from all over the world, to bring words of encouragement, to champion the cause that has been so maligned – not IAK’s cause, but the cause of a profoundly oppressed yet resilient people: the Palestinians.
- #IStandWithAlisonWeir too. I believe all decent human beings… those with empathy, morals & ethics… & who believe in a better world for everybody, especially those who support all oppressed & victimized people, should stand with Alison too.
- When Alison Weir is mentioned, it means that there are no hidden facts, and there is a truth and realistic message that must reach the world. Thank you for your great effort to uncover the truth behind what the Palestinian people are suffering… #IStandWithAlisonWeir
- She is a true journalist. A speaker of pure TRUTH…
- It is my honor to be of service to our most noble cause in any way that I can and to support messengers of truth such as the distinguished @alisonweir! She is truly one of my present-day heroes!
- I’m so proud of you and the existence such a brave woman who can show the truth of occupation without any afraid, so go on and we are behind you. #IStandWithAlisonWeir
- We are waiting to hear the facts about the Palestinian people, which no one dares to say. We want to end the occupation that oppresses them. We must continue in order to uncover their crimes.
- We stand solidly with Alison Weir. She is doing noble work for justice for Palestinians and the whole world. How many of us can bear her sacrifices to expose Israel brutal occupation and speak for the Palestinians rights. Our salute to this great hero.
- Alison Weir is a great speaker, and her research is meticulous. I hope everyone gets a copy of her book, Against Our Better Judgement, and checks out all the references at the end. Links to some fascinating newspaper articles dating from the 1940s… it is rare to find such scholarship.
Words of support poured in from Twitter and Facebook, and in emails and phone calls.
And it gets even better.
From Palestine, with love
As much as we value Alison’s supporters, the following messages were even more precious – from our brothers and sisters, the people of Palestine. These are the people for whom Alison and her team wake up every morning. They carry us past the criticism and hate, the slander and insults. This is why we do what we do:
- We are here to support your voice in exposing the crimes of Israel that are striving to hide them from the world. We respect your efforts and encourage, your strength that we want to continue.
- You are the heroine of the Palestinian people. Thank u so much. #IStandWithAlisonWeir
- From Palestine, I support Alison Weir, you are the voice of truth and justice for the Palestinian cause. We need you to uphold justice, end the crimes of the Israeli occupation and support the Palestinian people with their rights.
- We thank you so much for your solidarity with the Palestinians and we stand with you, you are a symbol of justice who stand with the truth and defend to injustice of the innocent people and want the world to know the truth. #IStandWithAlisonWeir
- We are very proud of you. You are a brave woman who stands against persecution And solidarity with the oppressed and people who are subjected to injustice. #IStandWithAlisonWeir
- This is what we are used to, a character who fights with honor and passion to reach the world and present facts that are free of distortion. How wonderful you are Allison Weir.
- From the smallest part in the world , From the peace and love land, We send our soldiraty to Alison wier and support her and we thanks her efforts for discovering the fact of israel and the crimes that do it daily againist Unarmed Palestinian. #IstandwithAlisonWeir
For these dear people, we will fight another day. Inshallah full victory will come to them.
America (and world), how’s your soul?
* Some of these tweets and Facebook posts may have come from fake identities created by Israelis. See this.
Kathryn Shihadah is staff writer for If Americans Knew. She blogs at Palestine Home.