NEW YORK—Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will not be seeking an endorsement from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in his congressional race.
According to a New York Jewish Week report, de Blasio said that, as a progressive politician, he no longer supports the 100,000-member pro-Israel lobby in Washington D.C.
The former mayor asserted his position during a virtual candidate forum last week on AIPAC campaign spending. Asked if he supports the organization, de Blasio reportedly replied, “No, I don’t.”
“I am not seeking their endorsement and would not accept it even if it were offered,” de Blasio said.
The far-left politician is running for a seat in the city’s newly redrawn District 10, which includes Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
De Blasio’s relationship with the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn has been wrought with several controversies during his tenure. Last week, he apologized for a 2020 tweet, during the peak of the pandemic, in which he singled out Williamsburg – an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood – for defying COVID restrictions.
In his rejection of AIPAC, de Blasio referred to the new direction the organization has taken as “unacceptable.” In Dec. 2021, the pro-Israel group established a bipartisan political action committee to raise campaign funds for political candidates who support the Jewish state and to help them defeat anti-Israel candidates.
In April, the PAC announced it has delivered more than $6 million in contributions to 326 pro-Israel Democratic and Republican nominees, so far. De Blasio himself has created a political action committee, Fairness PAC, to fund national Democratic candidates, but he self-affiliates as a progressive.
De Blasio said progressive House candidate Nina Turner lost a primary election in Cleveland after the AIPAC-affiliated PAC and other pro-Israel committees contributed to her opponent’s campaign. Turner had expressed solidarity with a Jewish group that accuses Israel of “apartheid” in its treatment of Palestinians.
“She’s an incredibly important progressive leader,” de Blasio was quoted as saying by JTA. “I thought the attack on her was not only horribly unjustified, it deprived our nation of someone who could have been a huge difference-maker in terms of our progressive movement.”
The former mayor noted that he supports a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and believes it “needs to be put back on the agenda.”
“It’s the only path forward to peace in the region for both Israeli and Palestinian people to have their own states,” he said. “I would fight for that, and I would certainly fight against any organization that attacks my fellow progressives.”
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.