The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may be getting criticized by some factions of the Democratic Party, but that did not stop New York Mayor Bill de Blasio from unexpectedly participating in an event Thursday hosted by the pro-Israel lobbying group.
The event, however, was not listed on the mayor’s daily schedule.
Politico first found photos on Twitter of the mayor with a group of women in front of an AIPAC banner. AIPAC then tweeted out praise and thanks to him for speaking before the group. (RELATED: De Blasio Declines To Endorse Capitalism And His Comms Director Loves It)
“Honored for @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio to have spoken today @AIPAC meeting discussing anti-Semitism & the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship. Thank you for your #Progressive leadership on pro-Israel issues. Looking forward to seeing you in DC #AIPAC2019,” tweeted Jason Koppel, AIPAC’s northeast region’s political director.
Honored for @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio to have spoken today @AIPAC meeting discussing anti-Semitism & the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship. Thank you for your #Progressive leadership on pro-Israel issues. Looking forward to seeing you in DC #AIPAC2019 #ConnectedForGood pic.twitter.com/fqHqGAH5cf
— Jason Koppel (@JasonKoppel) March 14, 2019
New York City is home to around 1.1 million Jewish residents—this number exceeds any other area in the world, including in Israel. De Blasio was previously critical of allegedly anti-Semitic comments that Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar made, and has come out against the anti-Israel Boycott Divest and Sanction movement. (RELATED: De Blasio Announces ‘Meatless Mondays’ To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions)
Nevertheless, the New York congressional delegation’s biggest star has also become one of AIPAC’s biggest opponents. New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent out a fundraising email last week claiming AIPAC was “coming after” her and some of her fellow freshmen members.
Mayor de Blasio was asked Friday by WNYC’s Brian Lehrer why his public schedule omitted the event.
“Well, first of all, this happened to be a house party that someone I know invited me to and it wasn’t clear I could make it until the very end. So that’s why it was – you know, a small event, not a big public event,” he said.
De Blasio continued, “Any big public event, we obviously post. And look, I would say this, I believe as a progressive and as a Democrat, we have to address fundamentally, the challenge of anti-Semitism that’s very clear and alive in this city and in this nation and this world. We have to address Islamophobia equally.”
The only event on the mayor’s public schedule that was posted on Thursday was a 10:30 a.m. press-conference at the Metropolitan College of New York about his administration’s plan to protect lower Manhattan from climate change.
Politico noted that de Blasio previously omitted from his schedule a pro-Israel speech he gave at an AIPAC conference in 2014.
Kerry Picket is a host on SiriusXM Patriot 125