Ideology and Book Reviews

Author responds to review of her book

Zionist Power” by Jay Knott (the pen name of an anonymous writer), published March 21, 2014 by Dissident Voice, tells more about the views of its writer than about my book, Against Our Better Judgment: The hidden history of how the U.S. was used to create Israel, which it is allegedly reviewing.

Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to respond to inaccurate articles about me on the Internet. However, since this piece was published by a serious website, I think it’s important to address some of its errors:

1. In the article Knott states: “Weir gives the impression America is inhabited by well-meaning, simple, Christian folk, who are manipulated into supporting the oppression of the Palestinians by dishonest, clever Jews.”

Against_Our_Better_Judgment_DVNo I don’t. Knott has missed an important point in the book: “Zionist” is not synonymous with “Jew.” While Zionists claim this, it is untrue, as my book makes clear. It’s odd that “Knott,” who comes across as anti-Zionist, repeats one of their major talking points. It’s also strange – In fact, I find it appalling – that Knott misrepresents my book in a way that suggests that I am anti-Semitic, a typical Zionist claim against those who give facts on Israel-Palestine.

In addition, I find his condescending reference to “simple, Christian folk” offensive. While this likely reflects his views on Christians, it doesn’t represent mine.

I also do not share his view that immoral policies are ever in the national interest. Many analysts, including Chalmers Johnson in his book about blowback, have rebutted this view.

2. Knott writes, “The book mentions the spy ship, the USS Liberty, which was attacked by Israel in 1967, killing 34 sailors and wounding 174.

There is nothing about the USS Liberty in my book, which discusses US-Israel history through 1950. Part Two will carry this through to the present. Did Knott read my book?

[Incidentally, Knott also claims the USS Liberty was a “warship” – another misrepresentation he shares with Israel partisans. He also claims, incorrectly, that it was permissible for Israel to attack it and kill crewmembers – even the Israeli government does not try to claim this (although some of its particularly zealous partisans do). In addition, machine-gunning stretcher-bearers and destroying lifeboats are war crimes; Knott needs to read up on international law before he attempts to discuss it.]

3. Similarly, Knott claims, “Neither was it a war crime for Zionists to blow up the King David hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 – it was the British HQ. Weir calls it a “terrorist act”.

In reality, only a portion of the hotel was a British office; the rest was a normal hotel full of diverse individuals, waiters, bellboys, etc., as Knott would know if he had read my book. The attack killed 91 people, identified as 41 Arabs, 28 Britons, and 17 Jews, and injured 46 more. News reports at the time called it, accurately, a terrorist attack. Knott’s justification of it again echoes Zionist talking points.

4. Knott foolishly writes, “Patriotism also leads Weir to quote opponents of the Lobby within the Pentagon” – thus ascribing an ideological motivation (and one that many readers will consider a negative one) to a book that is historical not ideological.

The fact is that statements by the Secretary of Defense about Zionism are historically significant and have nothing to do with one’s patriotism or lack thereof. They are quoted by numerous authors writing accurately on this topic, including British author Alan Hart.

On a similar note, Knott is disdainful of my statement that the State Department is charged with recommending policies beneficial to Americans. Actually, that is the State Department’s charge. Knott would know this if he had bothered to read the State Department’s mission statement, which states its obligation to advance the interests of and protect “the American people.” (By the way, I don’t say or claim that this is what the State Department necessarily does; it is, however, what it is charged with and what I believe the American people should require of it.)

5. Throughout his alleged book review, Knott uses my book as a springboard to push his own often uninformed views. This is certainly his prerogative, but it’s a shame that he at times misrepresents my book, my views, and important facts on the issue in the course of promoting a personal agenda – and does so under cover of anonymity.

Knott’s accusations against me are a bit schizophrenic. On the one hand, he chides me for not discussing “Jewish power.” At the same time, his inaccurate descriptions of me and my motivation echo Zionist mistruths about me.

There are a great many misrepresentations of my work on the Internet. I hope people will read my short book for themselves (including the Acknowledgments and Preface, which Knott appears to have skipped), my previous writings, my blog, and my bio.

The best way to learn about what I’ve said is the most obvious (and, hopefully, what most people already do): read my work for yourself.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew. She can be reached at: contact@ifamericansknew.org. Read other articles by Alison, or visit Alison's website.

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  1. Kim Petersen said on March 31st, 2014 at 4:38am #

    I’ve written a response to Alison.

    Jay Knott