UT will soon see the strife between Israel and Palestine from the perspective of a journalist.
Alison Weir, veteran journalist and executive director of the nonprofit organization "If Americans Knew," will speak on the topic of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the controversies involving what the news media leaves out in their reporting to America. The lecture will start at 7 p.m. tonight in UC Rooms 223-224.
Often thought of as a "watchdog" for the government, the news media in America is frequently referred to as the fourth branch of government. But when the news media leaves out valuable information and presents only half of the truth, Weir sees a problem. She will discuss the effects of what happens when a controversy, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is purposefully filtered to prevent the public from receiving the truth in its entirety.
Lingering for centuries, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, of course, nothing new. Yet President Barack Obama recently addressed this issue in Jerusalem this March, hoping to inspire the Israeli youth to seek a solution that will leave both parties "at peace."
The subjects that Weir will address include mutual recognition for both Israel and Palestine, defining official borders, security concerns, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement and navigating the issue of refugees.
Weir claims that this conflict is one that not only concerns Israel and Palestine, but also America because the conflict happening there is "the core issue of the Middle East."
Darrian Bruce, a junior in history, also feels strongly about America's involvement. Bruce explained that, as Americans, and more specifically, college-aged Americans, it is crucial to be involved in this conversation. In her opinion, Americans are, knowingly or unknowingly, directly affecting the issue.
"I think, as Americans, it's important for us to know what our government has done to contribute to this issue," Bruce said. "It is especially important to college-aged students, because we are the next generation of politicians, businessmen and women. The instability in the Middle East now due to this conflict doesn't seem to be going away any time soon, so its going to be up to our generation to figure out what policies we can implement to finally solve the issues in the Middle East."
In a phone interview with The Daily Beacon, Weir admitted that she never felt this controversy affected her personally until she saw the situation firsthand as a freelance reporter abroad. Now she encourages Americans everywhere to, at the very least, take notice.
"I think becoming informed is the very first and most important step in this issue," Weir said.
Despite the possibility of student apathy, Weir feels certain that her lecture will appeal to them, no matter their level of prior knowledge.
"Sometimes you go to lectures and you don't know what's going on," Weir said, "but this one will be of interest to those who are brand new to the Israel-Palestine issue, as well as those who think they know much about this issue. It will benefit both groups, because I am going to be covering topics that I think they will find rather surprising."
This event will feature various members of Students for Justice in Palestine, who will recall their own experiences in Palestine and discuss how this has affected their views. Weir has planned to have an extensive question and answer section after the lecture, complemented by traditional Palestinian refreshments.