NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio is heading back to the city this afternoon after making a “progressive case” for Israel in Washington D.C.

De Blasio spoke this morning at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, the country’s leading pro-Israel group.

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The mayor said Israel at its core is meant to shelter an oppressed people and that’s the reason he opposes the boycott, divestments and sanctions movement against Israel.

The mayor broken with other top tier progressives – including senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren and former congressman Beto O’Rourke – who decided to skip the event after the liberal group called for a boycott.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference on March 25, 2019, in Washington, DC. (credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

MoveOn cites AIPAC’s links to the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I’m going there because it’s really important that progressives be represented,” said de Blasio on WNYC.

During the 2016 presidential race, then-candidates Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, John Kasich and Ted Cruz all spoke at the AIPAC conference. Meanwhile President Trump denounced the boycotts.

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The three-day conference began on Sunday.