U.S.-based Palestinian journalist and media analyst who frequently writes and comments on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Abunimah also co-founded and edits the Electronic Intifada, an alternative media website focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Ali Abunimah was born in Washington, D.C., to a Palestinian refugee mother from the village of Lifta and a father from Battir in the West Bank. Abunimah grew up in the United Kingdom and Belgium and watched the events of the first intifada from school. Understanding that he came from a privileged position relative to the Palestinians living in camps and under occupation, he became frustrated with his inability to contribute in some way.
Abunimah obtained degrees from Princeton University and the University of Chicago. His first experience with activism in the United States began at Princeton, where he faced repeated efforts to intimidate him for being outspoken.
Later, while at the University of Chicago, Abunimah became active in the Chicago Arab community. He took a job as a researcher in a community-based organization in Chicago’s neighborhoods, where he found the Arab community by chance, most of who worked in social services. This was Abunimah’s first introduction to the Arab American Action Network, a group for which he would later serve as vice president and still serves as a board member.
In 1996, Abunimah became committed to engaging the broader U.S. media on the topics related to Israel and Palestine. That year, Abunimah began a correspondence with National Public Radio regarding their coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He began sharing his media correspondences with some friends, which later expanded to a network of hundreds, and then thousands.
Abunimah is still a media analyst who regularly appears for interviews and debates on national and international news programs, commenting on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"People get it backwards. They say that Israelis and Palestinians can never live together because they hate each other so much," Abunimah said during one interview with The Madison [Wisconsin] Times. "What I say is that they hate each other because they've never been allowed to live together in a way where everybody can have a dignified life."
Abunimah has published articles in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jordan Times, Lebanon’s Daily Star, and Ha'aretz. Most recently, Abunimah wrote the book One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.
He has appeared on television talk shows, including those on the CNN, MSNBC, and PBS networks, and in several films about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including Collecting Stories from Exile: Chicago Palestinians Remember 1948, a documentary produced by AFSC’s Chicago office in 1999.
In addition, Abunimah co-founded and edits the Electronic Intifada, an alternative media website focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that reaches about 10,000 people daily. The website features on-the-ground perspectives of political developments and includes arts and culture articles.
To learn more about the Electronic Intifada see www.electronicintifada.net.
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Kathleen McQuillen on the Federal Budget and Palestine-Israel