Banned! AIPAC Bars AlterNet From Covering Its Big Conference

Adele Stan, Washington correspondent for AlterNet, who, along with AlterNet’s Alex Kane and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss, shared my experience of being frozen out of the AIPAC conference, has written her own piece about the incident. Please check it out. Like me, she was given no reason for the ban, so she is left to speculate as to the reasons why, and she has some very interesting speculation.

The takeaway line from Stan: “The real casualty here is to AIPAC’s reputation. The organization insists it is bipartisan, and has gone to some lengths to include liberals such as Donna Brazile and Paul Begala on the roster of speakers for its policy conference. But when its leaders choose to freeze out a highly selective and tiny group of progressive writers because they have a colleague in common whose views contradict AIPAC’s, well, big, bad AIPAC just looks petty and small.”

Obama to Pro-Israel Lobby Group: ‘Too Much Loose Talk of War’

Here is my first report for Inter Press Service on the AIPAC conference. I think it would have been fuller if I had been there, rather than having had to cover it by watching it remotely. you tell me if this is something AIPAC had to be afraid of.

This appeared originally at Inter Press Service News Agency

WASHINGTON, Mar 5 2012 (IPS) – U.S. President Barack Obama Sunday made a clear statement against a rush to war – either by the U.S. or Israel – with Iran, while also emphasising that he would pursue that option if alternatives were unsuccessful in ensuring that Iran would not develop a nuclear weapon.

Speaking at the annual policy convention of the powerful American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Obama decried the “loose talk of war”, and contended that sanctions and international pressure are working.

“Now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built,” he said, noting that the recent drumbeat for war “has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil…”

He was no doubt referring to recent reports that Israel was preparing to strike Iranian nuclear targets this year, as well as exhortations by its supporters here, including three of the four major Republican presidential candidates, to take a more aggressive and threatening stance against Iran or to support Israel if it undertakes an attack against Tehran’s nuclear facilities on its own.

Obama began pushing back on that pressure last week in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine in which he stated that “…our assessment, which is shared by the Israelis, is that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon and is not yet in a position to obtain a nuclear weapon without us having a pretty long lead time in which we will know that they are making that attempt.”

Obama went on to urge a diplomatic resolution, which, he contends, there is still time to achieve. He reiterated that point at the AIPAC conference Sunday. Continue reading