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Mon Mar 5, 2012, 01:40 PM


Banned! AIPAC Bars AlterNet From Covering Its Big Conference [View all]

March 4, 2012 |

On Super Tuesday, the three top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination will not spend the morning campaigning for votes in the 10 states holding primaries and caucuses that day. Instead, they will address a conference of some 13,000 Israel-boosters at the Washington Convention Center in the nation's capital. Supporters of Israeli's hawkish foreign policy and its occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip will likely find much to admire in an address to be delivered by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, who has been banging the war drums for a strike on Iran. U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to address the conference on Sunday morning.

But even though this event will take place in Washington, DC, where I am based, and even though I cover the presidential election for AlterNet, I will not be there. And neither will our world affairs editor, Alex Kane. Why? Because the sponsoring organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, denied AlterNet the press credentials we would need to cover the event.

AIPAC is within its rights to ban AlterNet from covering its policy conference. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of association. But what has me flummoxed is the fact that AIPAC press representatives decline to give us a reason. So far, the only correspondence I have received from an AIPAC representative is the following terse e-mail from Sarah Coppersmith of the Scott Circle Public Relations Group, which is handling the credentialing process for AIPAC:

Thank you for your interest in attending this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference as a member of the press. However, press credentials for the conference will not be issued to you. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.



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