Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, now running for Congress, slammed AIPAC and said he no longer supports pro-Israel lobbying and activist group AIPAC. For years, de Blasio claimed that he supported the group and even spoke at their annual policy conference.
“They have changed in a way that is unacceptable to me because they have attacked the people I believe in,” de Blasio said during a candidate forum for New York’s 10th Congressional District.
De Blasio was referring to AIPAC’s targeting of Nina Turner, a virulently anti-Israel candidate who lost her primary in Ohio to pro-Israel Shontel Brown. The attack ads against Turner were “horribly unjustified,” de Blasio said, and “deprived our nation of someone who could have been a huge difference-maker in terms of our progressive movement.”
The comments are quite an about-face from the former mayor, who has recently been courting Jewish people in the 10th District, including at a meeting with askanim last week in which he attempted to make amends over a Covid kerfuffle.
Following his comments at the candidate forum, de Blasio told Jewish Insider that he is sticking to what he said, but insisted that he is still pro-Israel.
“I have a tremendous sense of personal loyalty to the Jewish community,” he said. “I have a tremendous sense of personal loyalty to the State of Israel and support for the State of Israel. But I also have a real personal loyalty to Nina Turner as a friend. That doesn’t mean I agree with every statement that she’s made.”
“From my point of view, I know what I believe in,” he continued. “I believe in supporting Israel and providing the defense support that Israel needs. From my understanding, Nina Turner thinks aid should be conditioned. I disagree with that. I think we have to protect Israel.”
Former NYC Councilman David Greenfield said he was “surprised” by de Blasio’s comments, but that he is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“I think that there are not a lot of federal issues that speak strongly to the Borough Park portion of this district, but there’s no doubt that any candidate’s support of Israel is going to be a litmus test for whether or not that candidate gets the support of the Borough Park Jewish community,” Greenfield said.
De Blasio is one 15 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to represent NY’s 10th District in the House of Representatives. The primary will take place on August 23rd.
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)