If Americans Knew—Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans Would be Free

Mohamed Khodr
January 1, 2008

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

“Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” –Holocaust Museum, Washington D.C.

“Her name was Itemad Ismail Abu Mo’ammar. Israeli soldiers had been beating her husband because he wasn’t answering their questions. Foolishly or valiantly, how is one to say, the 35-year-old woman had interfered. She tried to explain that her husband was deaf, screamed at the soldiers that her husband couldn’t hear them and attempted to stop them from hitting him. So they shot her. Several times...she didn’t die ...after five hours an ambulance took her. She was pronounced dead; a few days before Ramadan...She left 11 children... All together, five Palestinians were killed that day...None of this was reported in most of America’s news media, and so the American public never learned about a mother bleeding to death in front of her children, or young shepherds being blown to pieces. Apparently, it just wasn’t newsworthy.....There was nothing on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR, Fox News.” –Alison Weir; “Just Another Mother Murdered, Counterpunch, October 6, 2006

But one American woman, Alison Weir, the author of the above narrative, did not let this young innocent Palestinian woman’s death go unreported. This courageous, dedicated, and compassionate journalist abandoned a successful career to become a voice for the voiceless Palestinians, a people who lost their land, continue to lose their lives, limbs, and property; a people imprisoned as refugees in concentration camps, who’ve lost all their freedom to a western imposed artificially created state—ISRAEL—a nation founded and established through the deliberate forceful expulsion and ethnic cleansing of an indigenous population, Christian and Muslim Palestinians. This Zionist entity, a “Jewish” only land is the world’s last colonial Apartheid state, a term many Israelis and Diaspora Jews use to describe Israel’s prejudicial discriminatory policies toward Israeli Arabs and occupied Palestinians.

Out of political, economic, military expediency, pandering and fear, the world has turned a blind eye to Israel’s brutal, and yes, evil treatment of millions of Palestinians, the world’s largest refugee population, scattered as refugees within their own land and in exile for 60 years. The primary supporter of this Zionist, Apartheid “Jewish” is our government, a government beholden to the power, money, and media intimidation of the Israel Lobby.

It’s not a coincidence that Pro-Israel Jewish Americans, like Eliot Abrams, Dennis Ross, and Martin Indyk, are usually appointed in charge of Middle East policy, especially the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Our media’s reporting on the Israeli Palestinian issue is incredulously biased regularly accentuating Israel’s alleged positives and eliminating its negatives. To our media, Israeli lives and psychological stress are worthy of countless front page stories while the lives of Israel’s victims, the Palestinians, are faceless, nameless, and unworthy of media reporting.

Is it any wonder that Americans are uninformed as to our “democratic” ally’s daily brutality against the Palestinians? Many American politicians, diplomats, academicians, and military officers have repeatedly written and spoken about the power and influence the Israel Lobby has over Congress and the White House easily manipulating our foreign policy to serve Israel’s interests, not America’s.

Yet, such patriots are seldom, if ever, invited to appear on television to present their argument and ask for an honest national debate on Israel’s role in our foreign policy. In fact, the great majority of “experts” who appear on television to discuss the MidEast are Pro-Israel pundits.

BUT, there is one voice, among others, that tirelessly works to inform Americans of our complicity on Israel’s injustice and brutality against the Palestinians. That humanitarian voice is Alison Weir’s.

"The news and truth are not the same thing.” –Walter Lippmann

Based on historical research and extensive travel through the Palestinian occupied territories Ms. Weir decided to dedicate her life to justice and freedom from occupation for the Palestinians.

Thus, this special American woman founded an organization, “If Americans Knew”, with one purpose—to tell the American people the truth about Palestinian suffering and to oppose and correct our media’s Pro Israel bias with the noble belief that if Americans knew the truth about Israel, its Lobby’s power and influence upon our government that ensures Israel annually receives billions of our tax dollars despite its being one of the world’s richest nations, our latest military weaponry used to attack Palestinian civilians, villages, and infrastructure, while providing political cover against any international criticism or condemnation of Israel’s contemptible brutality against Palestinians, then they would demand that our government stop all support for Israel until it ends its occupation and accepts the generous peaceful offer made by the Arab League since 1982 that entails peace, recognition of Israel, and full political, economic, and diplomatic relations in exchange for total withdrawal from all occupied Arab lands. However, peace is anathema to Israel, a Zionist entity with a lust for military expansionism and land annexation.

Today the world watches in silence as 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza are besieged and blocked from receiving life’s basic sustenance of food, water, medicines, electricity, and any financial help from anywhere in the world. Only Israel can commit such war crimes and yet be supported by the west in its claim that it’s the besieged victim fearing for its very existence. If this is the civilization, freedom, and democracy the west claims to be exporting to the Muslim world, Muslims have the absolute right to reject such generosity by any means necessary.

Given that our own government and media are the supporters, facilitators, and appeasers of Israel, right or wrong, Ms. Weir felt it was her duty as an American and human being to bring to light the enormous suffering of the Palestinians who daily lose their lives, limbs, and freedom to work, speak, pray, get an education, or travel. Israel at will has bombed Palestinian infrastructure, schools (even a school for the blind), hospitals, farms, demolishing homes, stealing drinking water to fill illegal settler’s swimming pools, uproot olive trees, surround villages and cities with concrete walls, barbed wires, and an Apartheid Wall deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice that snakes through the West Bank annexing more Palestinian land and cutting through the heart of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

People’s lives and death in the Holy Land are simply acceptable “collateral damage” to the west given its historical guilt over the Holocaust, a guilt that has killed western consciousness and compassion to the suffering of the Palestinians, a people innocent of the Holocaust.

While Israel’s deathly siege of Gaza is slowly extinguishing its life and livelihood, America, Europe, the U.N., and Arab world are hypocritically feigning a peace process that leads nowhere except allowing Israel more time to solidify its theft of Palestinian land and further expulsion of its inhabitants, including the possibility of expelling Israel’s Arab citizens. The world’s conscience, humanity, and outrage lies dormant at the entrance of Auschwitz. In time, even the Christian and Muslim faiths themselves will be ethnically cleansed from their Holy Land.

How can such a “democratic” nation live with its conscience knowing that its very existence meant the expulsion, murder, persecution, oppression, and occupation of another people? How can our nation support such inhumanity? How can the world be ultra-sensitive to Jewish concerns while in silence damn the lives of the Palestinians, today’s “Unpeople”, a termed coined by the British historian Mark Curtis to describe the unknown millions of British colonial victims around the world, the same colonialism that dispossessed Palestinians to resolve Europe’s “Jewish Problem?.” How can Arab and Muslim leaders surrender their lands, resources, and freedom of fellow Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land? Not even the wise men of today can enter Bethlehem without Jewish permission, the Romans of today.

Israel, America’s only “democratic ally”, has made killing Palestinian children an acceptable policy for its soldiers, a crime for which they’re never found guilty despite irrefutable evidence.

Chris Hedges, a former New York Times MidEast Bureau reporter, wrote a tragically moving article for Harper’s Magazine titled: “A Gaza Diary”, (Harper’s Magazine, October 2001) in which he recounts the cold blooded murder of Palestinian children, often for sport.

"Yesterday at this spot the Israelis shot eight ..., six of whom were under the age of eighteen. One was twelve.... Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered -- death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumple onto the pavement in Sarajevo -- but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.”

If Americans only knew that the root of Muslim animosity, shared by the majority of the world, toward our foreign policy is primarily due to our unbridled support of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people in direct defiance of international law and world opinion.

Many prominent American Jews formed the “Jewish Committee on the Middle East” (JCOME) to oppose Israel’s occupation and oppression of millions of Palestinians as well as America’s pandering support of Israel’s policies, especially by Congress that Out-Israel’s Israel.

JCOME published an Ad in “The Nation” on February 3, 1988, a part of which is quoted below.

“How tragic that in our own time the very state established by Jews in the aftermath of this evil (Holocaust) has become a place where racialism, religious discrimination, militarism and injustice prevail; and that Israel itself has become a pariah state within the world community. Events taking place today are all too reminiscent of the pogroms from which our own forefathers fled two and three generations ago – but this time those in authority are Jews and the victims are Moslems and Christian Palestinians.”

The famed British historian Arnold Toynbee captured such immoral bias when he said:

“Right and wrong are the same in Palestine as anywhere else. What is peculiar about the Palestine conflict is that the world has listened to the party that committed the offence and has turned a deaf ear to the victims.”

Ms. Weir’s devotion to truth and accurate media reporting on the Israeli Palestinian conflict has subjected her, like others around the globe, to death threats and intimidation. Pro-Israel groups and individuals have used intimidation, boycotts, and character assassinations to silence those who dare to speak out against Israel’s brutal policies, people such as President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmund Tutu, Nelson Mandela, George Galloway, Clare Short, Uri Avnery, many U.N. officials, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Professors Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe, and many others, simply for their opposition to Israel’s inhumanity toward the Palestinians. Many courageous Israeli journalists like Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Ari Shavit, and others, also risk their lives to expose Israel’s brutal occupation.

Yet Alison Weir did not and will not surrender to fear and intimidation. In response to such tactics to silence her, she said: “We will not be silenced. I hope others will join us.”

For her tireless advocacy for truth and justice Ms. Weir was inducted into honorary membership of Phi Alpha Literary Society, founded in 1845 at Illinois College. The award cited her as a: “Courageous journalist-lecturer on behalf of human rights. The first woman to receive an honorary membership in Phi Alpha history.”

It’s the foreign media, especially in Israel, that has the integrity and courage to inform the world about Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinians that has turned their lives into a hell whose fire is unseen by the majority of Israelis and westerners alike.

Here are some editorial and op-ed headlines from Israeli, British, and other newspapers that none of our mainstream media would dare print.

“The "summer rains" we are showering on Gaza are not only pointless, but are first and foremost blatantly illegitimate. It is not legitimate to cut off 750,000 people from electricity. It is not legitimate to call on 20,000 people to run from their homes and turn their towns into ghost towns. It is not legitimate to penetrate Syria’s airspace. It is not legitimate to kidnap half a government and a quarter of a parliament. A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization.” –Gideon Levy, “A Black Flag”, Ha’aretz, July 3, 2006

“We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one - progressive, liberal - in Israel; and the other - cruel, injurious - in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an APARTHEID REGIME in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day” --Michael Ben Yair, “The War’s Seventh Days”, Haaretz March 3, 2002 (The author was Israel’s Attorney General from 1993-96)

“Livni (Israel’s Foreign Minister) Behind Closed Doors: Iran Nukes Pose Little Threat to Israel”;

“Jewish terrorist kills four on bus in Arab town” (Washington Post uses “settler”);”A Racist Jewish state”;; “Ethnic Cleansing Returns to Israel’s Agenda”; “Americans Tortured in Israeli Jails”; “Legitimization of Land Theft”; “Israeli Rabbi Calls on God to Annihilate Arabs”; “Hezbollah “did not use civilians as cover”; “Does Israel Want Peace”; “Christians In Jerusalem Want Jews to Stop Spitting on Them”; “ Pro-’surge’ group is almost all Jewish”; “Apartheid in the Holy Land (Archbishop Desmund Tutu, Guardian, April 29, 2002); “Zionists Using Holocaust to Silence People, Chief Rabbi” (Moishe Arye of Austria);

“Poll: 50% in U.K. Think Jews More Loyal to Israel than Home Nation”;

“Civil Rights Group: Israel Has Reached New Heights of Racism”; “Colored Tags for Arabs’ Luggage at Ben Gurion Airport Discontinued”;”Defense Minister: Israel Now World’s Fourth Largest Weapons Exporter”

One of the most shocking examples of Pro-Israel bias in our government is the use of the official website of the State Department to advertise the movie “A Mighty Heart” that recounts the murder of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. Never before has the federal government served as an ad agency for a private movie. Neither the White House, nor the Justice Department, nor Congress deemed this illegal or an abuse of precious tax dollars.

Compare this official endorsement and free advertisement of a movie on Daniel Pearl (along with enormous media exposure) to our government’s total silence and neglect of the murder of a young idealistic American woman, Rachel Corrie, by an Israeli bulldozer as she bravely tried to protect a Palestinian home from demolition. According to our government and media the murder of these two Americans is not “morally equivalent” since one was killed by Muslims and the other by Israel. The message is quite clear—Israel can get away with murder even if the victims are Americans, the very taxpayers who unknowingly support and protect it.

"Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid." –Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, 1965

From Alison Weir’s website: “IfAmericansKnew.org”

“In a democracy, the ultimate responsibility for a nation’s actions rests with its citizens. The top rung of government – the entity with the ultimate power of governance – is the asserted will of the people. Therefore, in any democracy, it is essential that its citizens be fully and accurately informed.

It is our belief that when Americans know the facts on a subject, they will, in the final analysis, act in accordance with morality, justice, and the best interests of their nation, and of the world. With insufficient information, or distorted information, they may do the precise opposite.”

In today’s inflamed world where terror, death, and violence are the tools of diplomacy none of us can afford to remain silent. No greater regional conflict than the Israeli Palestinian issue has the capacity to engulf our nation in a worldwide conflict unless we all join the struggle for peace and justice for the Palestinians and Israelis. Our government out of ideology or fear has chosen to ignore this conflict and give Israel the means and protection to abuse the Palestinians at will in total defiance of international law.

Thank God for Alison Weir, a noble American woman, willing to risk her very life to bring to light the suffering and persecution of Palestinians, a suffering covered up our media. Israel, our ally, shamelessly glorified by our politicians for a few dollars and positive media exposure, has easy access to our treasury and weapons; even to our youth who die fighting its regional wars; offering America nothing in return but turmoil and hatred around the world.

“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” --Edmund Burke

Only when Palestinians are free can America be free from fear and terror, a fact our media and bought politicians will never admit.

I will let Alison Weir’s words; far more eloquent than mine, to spark our conscience and humanity to do what’s right.

“As Americans – and as human beings – we must oppose such dismissal of another’s tragedy with every fiber of our being. We must speak out against the view that some people matter, and that others don’t; that the "right" orphans are to be helped, the "wrong" ones ignored; that suffering within powerful populations is to be shared, while sufferers without power must weep alone and unseen.”

Alison and her organization, If Americans Knew, are most worthy of our financial support in her noble cause, a cause few of us are informed about or heretofore have been involved in. For whatever reason, if we can’t be personally involved in this cause for peace and justice, than at least let’s give those willing to speak on our behalf and on behalf of the oppressed the resources they sorely need to continue the good fight.

Please seize this opportunity and every opportunity to make a difference in our world. So far our foreign policy has been “Bombs R Us”, let it be “Peace R Us” this coming year.

God bless all who seek peace and justice for their fellow man and woman.

SOURCES:

Israel-Palestine Timeline

Our latest project Israel-Palestine Timeline: The human cost of the conflict records photos and information for each person who has been killed in the ongoing violence. Visit the site

History of the Israel Lobby


Alison Weir's book Against Our Better Judgement: How the U.S. was used to create Israel brings together meticulously sourced evidence to outline the largely unknown history of U.S.-Israel relations.


Buy it on Amazon, and visit the book website for reviews, more ordering options, and upcoming author events.

Palestine Photography Project


The Palestine Photography Project reproduces high quality images of historic pre-1948 Palestine from the Library of Congress. Visit the site

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