A group of New York Jewish public figures have signed an open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio condemning his recent proclamation that the pro-Israel lobbyist group AIPAC would always have a friend at City Hall.
The letter counters the idea that AIPAC represents the best interests of de Blasio’s New York constituents, including the city’s Jews. “AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us,” the letter reads.
The letter’s 58 signatories include religious leaders, progressive academics, political activists, and others. They span the gamut from center-left liberal Zionists like author Peter Beinart to far-left voices like Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace. Prominent writers and playwrights like Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Eve Ensler also signed on.
The statement comes as de Blasio — a self-proclaimed champion of open-government — faces mounting pressure for comments made during a closed-door AIPAC gala, asserting his unending support for Israel and his loyalties to the right-wing lobbyist group AIPAC.
In the audio leaked by a reporter who bypassed security, he asserts that strong support for Israel is “elemental to being an American, because there is no greater ally on earth, and that’s something we can say proudly.”