Following Uproar Over Unannounced AIPAC Speech, Mayor de Blasio Promises More Openness


11Mayor de Blasio woke up Friday morning to an uproar caused for giving a high profile speech to one of America’s most powerful organizations in America without announcing it to the press and barring media from covering the speech.

As reported this morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered an impassioned pro-Israel speech during a private event hosted by AIPAC Thursday evening in Manhattan. The speech was not included on Mayor de Blasio’s public schedule, and a Capital NY reporter (Azi Paybarah) who attempted to report on the event was escorted by event security from the third floor to the lobby. Thanks to a participant providing Capital NY audio of the speech, were Mr. de Blasio’s strong pro-Israel statements available to the public.

“It was a rousing address that many New Yorkers – Jews and non-Jews – would have liked to have heard but for whatever reasons, the event was shuttered to the media,” NY1’s Bob Hardt wrote. “The current mayor and his team need to learn that closing doors to seemingly-routine speeches raises questions and eyebrows – even when there may be no ulterior political motive to a freeze out.”

Speaking to reporters at a press conference at City Hall Friday morning, Mayor de Blasio defended AIPAC’s policy of having closed events and him giving an unannounced significant speech, but promised more openness on announcing his closed-events appearances on schedules, ahead of time.

“The event sponsors have a right to set the ground rules. And AIPAC believed they want to have the event the way they wanted to have it. It was a closed to press event,” the mayor said. ‘there are many event in town closed to press event. We are not here to dictate to event sponsors whether the event is open to press or not, but we do owe you a clear understanding of where I am and what I am doing.”

“I think it’s appropriate for an organization to have its own ground rules. If i were to say I can’t give a speech if it’s not open to press, I think it’s not fair to them,” he added.

Going forward, the mayor promised this events will be announced to reporters, and in many cases will be releasing excerpts of the speech given. “we are going to make sure that you know when I am giving remarks. We are very comfortable telling you where I am and we want to make sure we are transparent as possible.”

“we certainly will improve our information system to let [public] know about a speech like that,” the mayor promised

(Jacob Kornbluh – YWN)