WASHINGTON (JTA) — AIPAC turned down requests for coverage of its annual policy conference from at least three web and news sites known for their critical and sometimes hostile coverage of Israel.
Patrick Dorton, a spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said there were a number of considerations in turning away the journalists, but would only name one — the volume of applications for coverage.
“There will literally be hundreds of reporters covering policy conference that represent media outlets that have diverse points of view and given the magnitude of the events this year, we cannot accommodate everyone,” he said.
President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and three major Republic presidential candidates are scheduled to speak to the conference next week, which is expected to attract a record 14,000 activists.
Journalists turned away include Mitchell Plitnick, a liberal blogger who has sparred with right-wing pro-Israel groups as well as anti-Zionists, and who was going to provide coverage for Inter Press Service, which emphasizes developing nations coverage as well as what it calls marginalized groups; Adele Stan of AlterNet, a news site that says it encourages advocacy in a number of areas, including human rights and social justice; and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss, an anti-Zionist site.
Plitnick had been cleared for coverage, only to be told that it was rescinded, and Weiss has covered AIPAC policy conferences at least three times without incident.
Barring coverage in Washington is rare; Government institutions in Washington are known for accommodating a broad range of journalists, including those adamantly hostile to the government of the day.