After a great deal of back and forth (and efforts by others on my behalf), the Daily Californian has finally published a response by me to a non-factual, defamatory letter to the editor attacking me in late May.
While I am pleased that the newspaper finally printed something, I feel it's unfortunate (and evinces a bit of a double standard) that the editors would not publish the original letter I submitted, restricted the information I could include in my rebuttal, posted my letter at the bottom of three letters (they had published the defamatory letters at the top of the section), failed to promote my letter in the paper's Twitter account (which they had done with the one accusing me), and continue to feature the defamatory letters – weeks after they were published – at the top of their Letters to the Editor page.
However, I'm glad that they finally published the following. Thanks to everyone who helped with this accomplishment!
Personal attacks are invalid, misinformed
In her letter “Anti-Israel ad breaks trust, propagates lies,” (May 21-27), Thyme Siegel angrily attacks me, apparently under the erroneous impression that I was responsible for an ad in The Daily Californian that she found infuriating.
Her letter berates the newspaper for the highly factual ad, stating: “… an especial red flag should have gone up in taking money from anti-Israel activists. Alison Weir, whose organization If Americans Knew is mentioned in the ad, is a full-time hater of Israel, a task of constant malice.”
In reality, I am a former journalist with a history of opposing discrimination. I had known little about Israel-Palestine most of my life, tilting toward Israel in my sympathies. When a Palestinian uprising erupted in fall 2000, I grew curious and began to investigate it.
I was shocked as I read Internet reports from regional media, humanitarian agencies and eyewitnesses. These differed so markedly from U.S. news reports that I decided to go see the situation firsthand.
I traveled by myself throughout Gaza and the West Bank and saw entire neighborhoods in ruins from Israeli shelling, ancient orchards that had been razed, children who had been shot.
When I returned I began If Americans Knew to provide the facts on a tragic issue to which Americans are intimately connected through our $8 million per day to Israel.
For my work, I am regularly called names. Following a 2003 debate at Berkeley, I received a death threat. Nevertheless, I plan to continue my efforts to give Americans the facts — especially since we have the power to bring justice and peace. It is my dream that today’s college students will do this.
— Alison Weir
Council for the National Interest and If Americans Knew
(On the website version my name was originally omitted at the end of the letter. When some readers notified me of this, I contacted the newspaper and they corrected this typo the next day.)