Writer Alison Weir concluded her series of talks in Homer, Fairbanks, Juneau and Anchorage Friday evening, addressing about 110 people at the Loussac Library's Wilda Marston Theater.
After showing the trailer to a documentary she is working on about Israeli practices in the occupied territories, she gave a powerpoint-accompanied lecture.
In the lecture, she demonstrated how one-sided toward Israel American media coverage has been over the past nine years, when dealing with casualties suffered by civilians on both sides - Israeli citizens and Palestinians. She covered this subject fairly thoroughly, and then moved on to a more anecdotal presentation about her travels to Palestine and Israel. These included many photographs she had collected that serve to show the profoundly human side of Palestinians, in their pride, their daily activities, and in their suffering.
She spoke for about an hour. Then, after a long standing ovation, she took questions for at least another hour. After that, she talked to as many people as wanted to question her, one-on-one.
Toby Sullivan is writing a story about Weir for the Anchorage Press. He seems to be centering the article on Weir's August 28-30 Article in Counterpunch, titled Israeli Organ Harvesting. Progressive Alaska has noted that this article is highly controversial, with links to two important critical responses to Weir's essay.
In response to Sullivan's question on the Counterpunch article (essentially, he asked why she thought it was controversial and asked her to describe the essay), Weir tried to go through the complex set of issues she brought up in the piece. Three times she stated or reiterated that after the prime source of the article from a Swedish reporter, she relied mostly on Israeli publications. She also stated that she is almost done with a 4,000-word-plus essay that she hopes will address the concerns raised ion the late August Counterpunch article.
After the lecture, Toby Sullivan and I talked about the article and Weir's talk a bit. He asked me, "Do you think she really believes this blood libel stuff?"
I told him, "No, but you might as well go up and ask her yourself." He then walked up to the stage where Weir was talking to a small group.
Weir comes across as modest, quiet, sincere and unflappable. Unfortunately, there were no hostile questions from the people who stayed for the question-and-answer session. I was hoping for more give-and-take or argument.
During all the applause periods of her talk, I looked around the auditorium, and caught about six or seven people who never clapped. They looked serious, and downright peeved throughout the evening. They all left shortly after she concluded her formal presentation.