Code Pink Tricks AIPAC, Media

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ari/">Steve Rhodes</a> (Creative Commons)

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


“Holy Crap,” I thought when my editor forwarded me today’s AIPAC press release, supposedly calling for a freeze on Israeli settlements. It turns out the statement, which would have been a massive departure from traditional AIPAC policies, was a stunt orchestrated by the anti-everything activist organization Code Pink. I wasn’t the only person who got punk’d: NPR, C-SPAN and Al Jazeera all ran with the story before news broke that it was false.

Code Pink has so far refused to admit how they pulled it off. But it’s clear that the press release was sent from a fake email address mirroring that of AIPAC media director Josh Block: block@aipac.org. His real email is jblock@aipac.org.

For much of the past fifty years, AIPAC has gained massive support in the American Jewish community. But as Israeli policy toward Palestinians became increasingly out of step with American liberals, Jews began taking a softer approach to the debate. As Robert Dreyfuss explained last September for Mother Jones, these liberals have mounted a challenge to the AIPAC hegemony under the banner of J Street, the self-proclaimed “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby. Today’s statement would have been a momentus agreement between the foes on a national security matter.

In reality, AIPAC has strongly opposed the Obama administration’s recent criticism of Israeli settlements. Last week, the real Josh Block released (pdf)a statement demanding that Obama “work to immediately defuse the tension with Israel.” Meanwhile, J Street penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in support of the Obama administration’s stance.

The stunt is consistent with the growing trend among activists to hijack corporations by releasing false policy statements that force the a company to explain a politically unpopular position. This has been most famously employed by the Yes Men, who last October released a statement, supposedly on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, announcing belief in Global Warming. It didn’t take long for the Chamber to reaffirm its denialist position. 

With prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington this week to discuss settlements, the stunt was perfectly timed. But unless AIPAC follows the Chamber’s example and sues Code Pink, don’t expect this story to have the same impact or receive the same exposure as the Yes Men’s hoax. 

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate