As its policy conference begins in Washington today, pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC called for a full settlement freeze, according to a fake press release.

ABC's Jake Tapper and NPR were among the journalists who reported the odd policy announcement, before Politico's Laura Rozen was told by AIPAC that it was a hoax.

(Are those wacky Yes Men at it again? Sigh. Probably.) Nope, this one was Code Pink. Who knew?

Meanwhile, in real life, Hillary Clinton is addressing the AIPAC conference, and while most of her speech is about how we are dedicated to nuking Iran before they nuke us and the usual "Israel and the US are best friends forever and we will totally still keep in touch even when camp is over and we go home" boilerplate, they don't really want to hear even tepid and reasonable things about how they need to grow the fuck up and stop fucking expanding developments for their fundamentalist psycho settlers.

Here's the fake press release, for laughs:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Josh Block March 22, 2010

With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveling to the United States to speak at the AIPAC 2010 Policy Conference and meet with President Barack Obama, AIPAC reaffirms the U.S-Israel relationship rooted in mutual strategic interest, shared democratic values, and a commitment to peace in the region. To further solidify this relationship, AIPAC calls on the Netanyahu government to make a conscious effort to move away from actions that create tensions between the two governments and undermine prospects for Israel-Palestine peace. AIPAC therefore calls on the Israeli government to immediately freeze new settlement projects, both in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

AIPAC agrees with Vice President Joe Biden that the Israeli government plan for new housing units in East Jerusalem "undermines the trust that we need right now in order to begin ... profitable negotiations." It also seconds the position of AIPAC keynote speaker Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said that the U.S. government wants to see a freeze on settlements - "not some settlements, not outposts, not 'natural growth' exceptions."

AIPAC applauds the Israeli government's recent announcement that it will ease the restrictions on materials allowed into Gaza, especially materials needed for rebuilding the sewage system and buildings destroyed during Operation Cast Lead.

AIPAC believes that an easing of the tensions between the United States and Israel is critical to move forward with the substantive work that needs to be done to thwart Iran's dangerous pursuit of nuclear weapons, and to move forward in the peace process between Israel and all of her Arab neighbors. It strongly urges Israel to work closely and privately with the Obama administration, in a manner befitting strategic allies, to address a wide range of critical issues, including settlements, the status of East Jerusalem and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"With the good faith gesture of freezing settlements, Israel can generate a new equilibrium in the Middle East that assures," said AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr.


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