by Alison Weir (pictured)
I HADN’T originally meant to write a book.
For over a dozen years I had been reading excellent books containing facts about the history of US-Israel relations that very few people seemed to know – even individuals highly knowledgeable about the history of the Middle East.
Because so few people are aware of this information, inaccurate narratives have frequently dominated discussions of the US-Israel relationship, contributing to highly flawed U.S. policies. Such policies have fueled tragedy in the region and damage to Americans.
I finally decided to write an article that would set the record straight.
My article, however, grew longer and longer, as I realized how much there was to explain. Plus, I continued to find more information that I felt people needed to know. I would research a point to confirm the information I had, and would often stumble across additional facts of significance, often ones that were extremely surprising to me. The article became a book.
I am often asked how and why I became so intensely interested in Israel-Palestine.
This was certainly unexpected; earlier in my life I would not have predicted that I would write a book on this topic. Like most Americans I felt this region had little to do with me. I had never paid much attention to this issue, and my information about it was largely influenced by the movie Exodus and mainstream U.S. news headlines.
In the fall of 2000 that changed.
What is now known as the “Second Intifada” (Palestinian uprising) was in the news, and I grew curious about it. I decided to follow the news coverage to learn what this conflict was all about, and I fairly quickly noticed how one-sided the coverage was. My background was in journalism (I was at that time the editor of a very small weekly community newspaper), so I was aware that reporters are supposed to give the full picture in a more complete way than I felt was going on.
Because the Internet was available, making information on remote daily events far more accessible than previously, I began to research the news further. In doing so I discovered a far more drastic pattern of Israeli violence against Palestinians than mainstream U.S. news organizations were revealing.
For example, I discovered that large numbers of Palestinian children were being killed by Israeli forces, many of them through gunfire to the head – and that they had been killed before the far smaller number of Israeli children who eventually began also to be tragically killed.
Similarly, I found that over 140 Palestinians of all ages had been killed before any Israelis in Israel, even though the media consistently were referring to Israeli violence as retaliatory.
After a few months of looking into this issue, becoming more and more disturbed by what I was finding in the region – and what began to appear to me to be a cover-up in the American media – I finally decided I needed to see for myself what was going on. I quit my job and went to the region as a freelance reporter, traveling independently throughout Gaza and the West Bank during the height of the uprising.
When I returned, I began an organization called “If Americans Knew.” The purpose was to create a nonpartisan, journalistic organization that would provide the facts on this extremely important issue to the American public, and on our connection to it.
Americans have given far more of our tax money to Israel than to any other nation, and to the region in general. In addition, the U.S. government frequently vetoes international initiatives on Israel that virtually all other nations endorse. As a result, our support for Israel has created growing hostility against the United States, placing our citizens in increasing risk.
I began to read voraciously on the subject. I was particularly curious about the history of the conflict, and of how the United States became so involved, since I felt that to understand a current situation, it is essential to understand what created it.
In the course of my reading, I discovered a great many startling facts and a history of my own nation of which I had been almost entirely unaware. I suspect that others will share my considerable surprise.
After nearly a decade and a half of researching this issue, including a number of trips to the region, I have come to view the U.S. connection to Israel as one of the most critical issues in the world today, and one of the most urgent for Americans to understand.
The lack of engagement by people such as myself fourteen years ago has allowed fanatics to drive U.S. policies. I feel it is essential, both for other nations and for our own, that the rest of us become involved.
While many people are led to believe that U.S. support for Israel is driven by the American establishment and U.S. national interests, the facts don’t support this theory. The reality is that for decades U.S. foreign policy and defense experts opposed supporting the creation of Israel. They then similarly opposed the massive American funding and diplomatic support that sustained the forcibly established state and that provided a blank check for its aggressive expansion. They were simply outmaneuvered and eventually replaced.
Like many American policies, U.S. Middle East policies are driven by a special interest lobby. However, the Israel Lobby, as it is called today in the U.S., consists of vastly more than what most people envision in the word “lobby.”
As this book will demonstrate, the Israel Lobby is considerably more powerful and pervasive than other lobbies. Components of it, both individuals and groups, have worked underground, secretly and even illegally throughout its history, as documented by scholars and participants.
And even though the movement for Israel has been operating in the U.S. for over a hundred years, most Americans are completely unaware of this movement and its attendant ideology – a measure of its unique influence over public knowledge.
The success of this movement to achieve its goals, partly due to the hidden nature of much of its activity, has been staggering. It has also come at an almost unimaginable cost.
It has led to massive tragedy in the Middle East: a hundred-year war of violence and loss; sacred land soaked in sorrow.
In addition, this movement has been profoundly damaging to the United States itself.
As we will see in this two-part examination of the pro-Israel movement, it has targeted virtually every significant sector of American society; worked to involve Americans in tragic, unnecessary, and profoundly costly wars; dominated Congress for decades; increasingly determined which candidates could become serious contenders for the U.S. presidency; and promoted bigotry toward an entire population, religion and culture.
It has promoted policies that have exposed Americans to growing danger, and then exaggerated this danger (while disguising its cause), fueling actions that dismember some of our nation’s most fundamental freedoms and cherished principles.
All this for a population that is considerably smaller than New Jersey’s.
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This article is an excerpt from Alison Weir’s excellent book, Against Our Better Judgment. To read the book, just go to https://againstourbetterjudgment.com/