NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed promised to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and defend the Jewish community against antisemitism.

He spoke at an annual event, held at his official residence of Gracie Mansion in Manhattan on Tuesday evening, celebrating Jewish heritage and honoring Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis. Attendees included Consul-General of Israel Dani Dayan, Jewish politicians and other leaders of the community.

“We know there has been a rise in antisemitism in this country, and we will not tolerate it here in New York City,” de Blasio said. “We honor every faith in New York City; this is part of our mandate and this is something we have to teach the world.

“The message is abundantly clear: We cherish the community, we protect the community, we cannot be great without every one of our communities,” he said.

De Blasio also praised Israel as the “answer to industrial oppression going back thousands of years,” and spoke about the close relationship between the City of New York and the State of Israel.

“There is a lot of history that teaches us why the Jewish people have needed a homeland, and finally having a homeland, they deserve to know that that homeland will be protected for the long haul,” he said. “This is why I oppose the BDS movement so strongly.”

The BDS movement, the mayor said, undermines “one of the things that could lead to peace, which is economic opportunity for all in Israel, in the region.

“I’m saying this as a proud progressive, and as a proud Democrat,” he told the audience.

“There is no logic, there’s nothing right and just about a movement that seeks to undermine the economy of a place that has been a refuge for the oppressed. It’s as simple as that.

“We cannot let BDS take away one of the things that could actually lead to peace for everyone,” de Blasio said.

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