AIPAC kicks off with L.A. mayor


"Israel will always have a friend in the city of the angels," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as he kicked off the annual AIPAC policy conference Sunday morning. (UPDATE: Check out the video.)

Villaraigosa said Israel’s struggle in the Middle East echoes his own Hispanic community’s "struggle for civil rights" and said that when it comes to the Jewish state, "my roots run deep" — recounting visiting his Jewish neighbors while growing up in East Los Angeles.

The mayor also said he would work to ensure that cities and counties across the country steer clear of investing with companies which do business with Iran. Los Angeles was the first city in the country to pass a Iran divestment measure in 2007.

AIPAC announced on Saturday that the 6,500 delegates at this year’s policy conference will hear from Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday morning. Others on the program include Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Israeli President Shimon Peres, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak to the group by satellite.

This year’s conference them is "Relationships Matter."

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