The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) barred journalists from a panel on press freedom at its annual policy conference.
“AIPAC has a long history of being wary of, and less than friendly toward, the press. Members of the media enter the AIPAC convention through a separate entrance and must be accompanied by staff to proceed to the main area where sessions are held — and, at times, even accompanied to the rest rooms.”
— Editorial in New Jersey Jewish News
AIPAC is one of the most influential pro-Israel organizations in the United States.
Allison K. Sommer, a journalist for the left-wing Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz, tweeted Sunday that AIPAC’s panel on press freedom — on which she spoke — was closed to the media. She added the hashtag: “#irony.”
Ron Kampeas, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency bureau chief for Washington, DC, retweeted Sommer’s news, and agreed with her: “Barring press from hearing reporters is as weird as it gets. But also: in previous years press was barred from those sessions Aipac attendees paid extra for. But we got into all basic fee sessions except for lobbyist training. This is new.”
Left-wing critics of Israel, and anti-Israel activists, tore into AIPAC on Twitter. Even Israeli journalists complained.