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Deadly Distortion: U.S. Press Coverage of Israel and Palstine, Expert Alison Weir to speak

Alison Weir, Executive Director of If Americans Knew, will show how the The Asssociated Press, New York Times, TV new networks, and The Oregonian skew Americans' perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by omission. Weir is a nationally known expert on media distortion of the conflict and will kick off a series "Palestine/Israel - How the Media and U.S. Foreign Policy Perpetuate the Conflict" by giving a free talk Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 pm at Central Lutheran Church, Portland.
Alison Weir, If Americans Knew
Alison Weir, If Americans Knew
Bias in The Associated Press newswire and media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be the focus of a talk by award-winning investigative journalist Alison Weir during the first night of a series, "Palestine/Israel - How the Media and U.S. Foreign Policy Perpetuate the Conflict," which is sponsored by faith and human rights groups. Weir will present documentation of what is misreported and underreported on Saturday, October 14, 7:30 p.m. at Central Lutheran church in NE Portland.

"I was astounded at our findings about U.S. press coverage of Israel-Palestine. I have been involved in journalism for many years, and this is the most disturbing situation I have ever encountered," says Weir, executive director of "If Americans Knew." Weir is a national expert on the topic and has provided briefings on Capitol Hill and her speech at the Center for Policy Analysis in Washington D.C. was broadcast nationally on C-Span. Among the numerous universities and colleges where she has been invited to speak are Harvard Law School, Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the Naval Postgraduate Institute.

"Having traveled as a freelance reporter throughout the West Bank and Gaza, I found the situation extremely different than our media are portraying it. Americans are imperiled by governmental policies -- by both parties. It's time that we all look into this situation for ourselves. We owe it to our children," Weir stresses. A few days ago her article "Just Another Murdered" was published by Counterpunch. In addition to conducting in-depth media studies, Weir has written for various books and magazines and will have several chapters in the upcoming book "Censored 2005" (Seven Stories Press). The studies and videos on American news coverage of Israel-Palestine are downloadable from the organization's website: www.IfAmericansKnew.org.

The Portland series will continue on October 28, with excerpts from the documentary film "Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land," which will be moderated by Diane Adkin, Global Exchange visitor and spokesperson for Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights. On the final night, November 11, Dr. William Seaman, member of Jewish Voice for Peace, will speak about the role of U.S. foreign policy in creating and sustaining the conflict.

The educational series is presented by Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land of Central Lutheran Church and cosponsored by Friends of Sabeel - North America, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights, and Jews for Global Justice.

The public is invited to attend any or all of the free Saturday evening presentations held at Central Lutheran Church, 1820 NE 21st Ave, Portland from 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.: October 14 - "Deadly Distortion", October 28 - "Peace Propaganda and the Promised Land," and November 11 - "How U.S. Foreign Policy Perpetuates the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict."

Resources to learn more will be available from the sponsoring groups which have connections to national organizations working to raise public awareness.

"It's staggering to see the confiscation of Palestinian land and denial of rights under international law to Palestinians," confesses Jennifer Grosvenor who is active with several of the sponsoring organizations, including the Lutheran group. Peace Not Walls - Stand for Justice in the Holy Land (www.elca.org/middleeast) is a national initiative of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in partnership with Palestinian-Lutheran congregations and the internationally supported Lutheran schools, hospital, and social services in the Occupied Territories.

Grosvenor says, "World leaders repeatedly say that the unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the root cause of most international conflict. However, most Americans have very limited information. Former President Jimmy Carter speaks boldly in his eye-opening new book 'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid'. I hope our series educates and helps, particularly, to answer 'Why didn't I know about this?"

For program details and a related series "Witness from the Holy Land" on Sunday mornings, contact Central Lutheran Church, 503-284-2331; email:  office@centralportland.org or www.centralportland.org.

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