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AIPAC, Powerful Lobby On Israeli Issues, Is Target Of Fake News Release

A bogus news release that claimed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee had called on Israel "to immediately freeze new settlement projects" led to a incorrect report on NPR's newscast this morning.

AIPAC has not issued any such statement, spokesman Josh Block tells us, and condemns whoever is responsible for spreading the misinformation.

The official-looking statement, e-mailed to NPR earlier today, appeared to come from Block. But, as a closer look reveals, the e-mail address did not quite match Block's official AIPAC address.

In the course of a report about the AIPAC Policy Conference that is underway in Washington this week, NPR relayed the bogus information to listeners.

Israel's settlements in disputed territories have been atop the news again in recent weeks in large part because of its announcement — during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden to Israel earlier this month — of plans for more home construction in East Jerusalem.

This isn't the first time in recent months that the news media have been used by advocates to spread disinformation. Last October, Reuters falsely reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had reversed position and was going to support major climate change legislation. That was not true. Proponents of the legislation had created a convincing website and press release that looked like they had the Chamber's blessing.

Update at 9:55 a.m. ET. TPMMuckraker reports that ABC News' Jake Tapper:

"Tweeted the bogus news this morning ... before deleting the item and tweeting "Whoa—- that was a hoax. AIPAC is NOT calling for a settlement freeze- someone staged a very elaborate fake email/press release. V odd."

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET: NPR's newcast included a correction in its next broadcast.

Update at 9:40 a.m. ET: Politico's Laura Rozen heard the NPR report and was alerted to the mistake by AIPAC.