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Bill de Blasio, New York’s newly installed mayor said, “Part of my job description is to be a defender of Israel” while speaking at a private New York event of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

“There’s no greater ally on earth, and that’s something we should say proudly,” he said last Thursday, as first reported Friday by the Capital New York news website.

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De Blasio, elected in November described his visit to Israel with his family several years ago, and said that “City Hall will always be open” to AIPAC.

He noted in his talk that New York has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel. Successive New York mayors have for decades cultivated close ties with Israel.

The AIPAC event was omitted from the mayor’s schedule distributed to the press corps, and the mayor said it was because AIPAC wanted the dinner to be closed to the press. De Blasio promised to provide a “clearer understanding” of his schedule and speeches, in the wake of the AIPAC speech.

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