Bill de Blasio wants you to know he shovels his own snow-encrusted sidewalk, arranging feel-good photo-ops to show off his civic pride. The New York mayor feels a bit differently, however, about wooing the powerful pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC, whose members he spoke to in a Manhattan hotel on Thursday night, for a speech omitted from his public itinerary.

The event’s security staff removed Azi Paybarah, a reporter for Capital New York, who managed to get past the secret event’s coat check. Paybarah later obtained several minutes of audio, where the mayor can be heard praising the United States’ strategic alliance with Israel as “elemental to being an American” because America has “no greater ally on earth.” According to Capital, de Blasio promised that “City Hall will always be open to AIPAC.”

And though de Blasio crafted his mayoral campaign around his cutting criticisms of Mike Bloomberg, in front of AIPAC’s constituents he found only praise for his predecessor’s re-development of Roosevelt Island, where the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology plans to build a satellite campus.

“The rich and powerful [have] their voices heard above the rest of us,” de Blasio declares on his campaign website. He adds: “It is enough to shake one’s faith in our system.”

[Photo credit: Associated Press]