Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is now running for Congress in New York’s newly-redrawn District 10, says he does not support the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby, claiming the organization has changed in an “unacceptable” way.
“They have changed in a way that is unacceptable to me because they have attacked people I believe in,” he said last Wednesday while speaking in a virtual candidate forum hosted by the New York Progressive Action Network and Our Revolution.
“I am not seeking their endorsement and would not accept it even if it were offered.”
De Blasio pointed to the primary defeat of progressive Congressional candidate Nina Turner in Cleveland, Ohio, blaming the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for her loss.
Turner had expressed solidarity in May 2021 with the anti-Israel “If Not Now” organization, tweeting photos of a demonstration in which American Jews joined other Palestinian Authority supporters to accuse the State of Israel of “apartheid” and express support for “Sheikh Jarrah.”
Solidarity is a verb ✊? https://t.co/Kupgdtuqey
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) May 12, 2021
If Not Now asserts in a statement on its website, “We are a movement of American Jews organizing our community to end US support for Israel’s apartheid system and demand equality, justice, and a thriving future for all Palestinians and Israelis.
“We commit to grappling together with apartheid, Zionism, and the state of Israel— with what these realities have meant for Jews, and with the harm they have caused for Palestinians.”
AIPAC’s affiliated political action committee– United Democracy Project — and other pro-Israel PACs heavily supported Turner’s opponent in the primary, enraging de Blasio.
“She’s an incredibly important progressive leader. 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 expressed strong support for the so-called two-state solution which would carve another Arab country out of Israeli territory. “It’s the only path forward to peace in the region for both Israeli and Palestinian people to have their own states,” de Blasio claimed. “I would fight for that, and I would certainly fight against any organization that attacks my fellow progressives.”
During his tenure as mayor, de Blasio appeared at AIPAC events, including its annual policy conference.
Nevertheless, he told Jewish Insider this past Sunday that he still supports the Jewish State.
“I have a tremendous sense of personal loyalty to the Jewish community. I have a tremendous sense of personal loyalty to the State of Israel and support for the State of Israel. But I also have real personal loyalty to Nina Turner as a friend.
“That doesn’t mean I agree with every statement that she’s made… 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.”