Liberal Jews angry with N.Y. mayor over secret AIPAC talk
Bill de Blasio has been getting flak for expressing unqualified support for the right-leaning pro-Israel lobby, a Daily News report shows.
Liberal Jewish organizations normally supportive of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have been expressing anger since he spoke at a closed AIPAC event in January that did not appear on the mayor's public schedule.
Private emails to the mayor obtained by the Daily News reveal significant backlash by numerous Jewish organizations that do not identify with AIPAC, among them the dovish pro-Israel lobby J Street. Members have flooded State Senator Liz Krueger with emails of complaint.
“I think BDB needs a broader education on NY Jewish/Israel issues to avoid future blow ups,” Krueger wrote to de Blasio's senior aide Emma Wolfe, according to emails obtained by The Daily News under a Freedom of Information Request. Wolfe reportedly responded that the mayor's office is "trying to figure it out.
The report also reveals that De Blasio held a conference call on February 2nd with J Street leaders to try and alleviate the situation.
At the January 23 event, Mayor de Blasio gave an enthusiastic speech praising Israel, saying it is "part of his job description is to defend Israel" and that "there is no greater ally on earth" than Israel. He ended the speech by announcing that "City Hall will always be open to AIPAC."
At the time, 58 Jewish liberals – among them rabbis, philanthropists and cultural figures - sent an open letter to the mayor insisting his job is not to adhere to AIPAC's whims. “AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hardline government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us,” they concluded.