Love from Dov
Assemblyman Dov Hikind wanted every last soul in Midwood to vote for Bill Thompson.
The Brooklyn pol, a powerbroker in the Orthodox Jewish community, aggressively escorted Mr. Thompson through a Midwood shopping strip today, buying him gefilte fish, low-carb muffins and even enticing the typically demure mayoral candidate to rush into traffic and shake hands with an idling bus driver.
“Things are different, things have changed, the support now is absolutely amazing,” said Mr. Hikind, comparing Mr. Thompson’s support in the Jewish community today versus four years ago, when he narrowly lost to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “You can see it on the street, from all people by the way, not just the Jewish community … The bottom line is this: I support people who I think are going to be best. I don’t look at poll numbers.”
The Brooklyn district attorney’s race is escalating rather quickly in Boro Park.
Councilman David Greenfield and Assemblyman Dov Hikind, Orthodox Jewish surrogates for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and challenger Ken Thompson respectively, traded blows today after Mr. Greenfield said at a recent press conference that Mr. Thompson vowed to “target the Jewish community” for prosecution.
Mr. Hikind, no fan of Mr. Greenfield, was not amused.
Anthony Weiner’s newly-minted mayoral campaign is humming along and political observers are in constant discussion as to whether he can accumulate the necessary votes to win. In particular, some have wondered whether Mr. Weiner can secure support in the more socially conservative Orthodox Jewish community–some of whom reside in his old congressional district–or if the salacious details of his 2011 sexting scandal are simply too much.
Judging by the cross-section of callers who reached out to Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s post-Shabbos radio show Saturday night, Mr. Weiner still has some work to do–and not only because of the scandal.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind may have sincerely apologized for wearing face paint for his “black guy Purim costume,” but at the Inner Circle Show this weekend, reporters demonstrated they weren’t completely finished with the controversy. To wit, Bloomberg News’ Henry Goldman did a musical number impersonating Mr. Hikind for the charity event, singing a modified version of the classic blues song “Got My Mojo Working.” Fortunately, Mr. Goldman declined to wear face paint himself.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind may have offered his sincere apology for dressing up as a “black basketball player” for Purim, but that doesn’t mean The Daily Show can’t have a little fun with the incident. Accordingly, that’s exactly what happened last night.
“If you live in the New York area, you may be familiar with State Assemblyman Dov Hikind,” the show’s host, Jon Stewart, began as he ticked off allegations of anti-Semitism Mr. Hikind has leveled against others. “Some of this may seem like a bit of an overreaction, but the guy is standing up for a group, whenever he feels this group has been unfairly maligned or held up for ridicule. So what’s he been up to lately?”
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind has been at the center of a firestorm since Politicker revealed he wore a “black basketball player” costume consisting of an afro wig, brown face paint, an orange jersey and sunglasses to a Purim party at his home Sunday. At first, Mr. Hikind fiercely defended himself against criticism before penning a “heartfelt and sincere apology” on his website this morning. Though the incident and Mr. Hikind’s initial response generated harsh headlines around the world and provoked critical statements from other politicians, several insiders we spoke with insisted Mr. Hikind was spared from a stronger reaction because of the unique power he wields on the local political scene.
One local political insider noted this isn’t the first time Mr. Hikind has courted controversy without facing lasting repercussions. In 2011, Mr. Hikind was one of the most vocal Democrats opposed to New York’s legalization of gay marriage. He bucked his party again this year when he suggested Jewish support for President Barack Obama was a “disease.”
“Can you imagine if somebody else had said that? What does that even mean, right?” the insider said of Mr. Hikind’s comments on the presidential election. “People are not willing to stand up to him. Internally, everyone realizes he’s a dirtbag, we’re just not going to say that because that’s the game we play.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind held a press conference in front of his home this afternoon responding to the uproar over a story that first appeared on Politicker today about his “black basketball player” Purim costume. In front of a small crowd of reporters, Mr. Hikind apologized that people were “offended” and reiterated his initial defense that the getup, which consisted of an orange jersey, brown face paint, an afro wig and sunglasses was merely a costume to celebrate the Jewish Purim holiday. However, even after Mr. Hikind addressed the firestorm, several members of the City Council sent letters to the Assemblyman arguing his apology did not go far enough.
“Anyone who was offended by the outfit that I was wearing on Purim yesterday … it was not meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone in any fashion,” Mr. Hikind began. “That is not what I am all about for the past 31 years in pub office and before that.”
Assemblyman Karim Camara, chairman of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, is “deeply shocked and outraged” by his fellow lawmaker Dov Hikind’s “black basketball player” Purim costume. In his statement on the costume, Mr. Camara described it as “insensitive,” compared it to the “blackface minstrel show” and demanded an apology.
“I am deeply shocked and outraged by the insensitive actions of Assemblyman Hikind, to dress as a black basketball player complete with tanned skin and an Afro wig,” Mr. Camara said. “We, as leaders have to be extremely careful that we foster understanding amongst our different cultural groups and not use the images of one as a tool for humor. In speaking with many African Americans both leaders and average citizens, the outrage is widespread.”
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is standing by his decision to don a Purim costume that some people have described as offensive “blackface.” The outfit, which consisted of brown face paint, an afro wig and sunglasses in what Mr. Hikind described as a representation of a “black basketball player”provoked widespread outrage after Politicker first wrote about it this morning. However, in a post on his personal website bluntly titled “It’s Purim. People Dress Up,” Mr. Hikind argued his critics don’t understand the nature of the Purim holiday, a costume and wine-fueled reverie commemorating a time when Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind hosted a massive Purim party at his home yesterday that featured over fourteen hours of food and drink and, as is customary on the Jewish holiday, elaborate costumes. Mr. Hikind said a professional makeup artist came to his home to transform him into a “basketball player” with a costume that consisted of an afro wig, sunglasses, an orange jersey and brown face paint.
“I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players. Someone gave me a uniform, someone gave me the hair of the actual, you know, sort of a black basketball player,” Mr. Hikind explained. “It was just a lot of fun. Everybody just had a very, very good time and every year I do something else. … The fun for me is when people come in and don’t recognize me.”