Dov Hikind dons blackface for Purim party (Updated)

US Politics
on 37 Comments

Update:

Earlier today Dov Hikind gave a press conference that was basically a big non-apology. He promises “to do Indians next year.”In a later interview with Orthodox radio host Zev Brenner he said he would dress up “as a gay person” next year:

Hikind’s son posted an explanation on Facebook and explains that on Purim “half the time he was acting as Kadhaffi.” We can only imagine what that impersonation must have been like:

So sad how this is being turned around. My dad doesnt have a prejudice bone in his body. Anyone that knows him, knows that. Bottom line is this. Absolutely nothing about his costume was meant to in any way offend anybody. Was with him all day and half the time he was acting as Kadhaffi. (which I actually think he looked allot more like than a black basketball player) Every year my parents open up their house to the whole community and spend the entire day with the one single minded focus of spreading joy love and happiness to as many people as possible. It is a beautiful environment and anyone who has been to their home would attest to the amazing feelings we spread to everyone that is there. These are the facts. Part of the feeling is created by people dressing up. Was it a wise move to dress in a way that could be taken offensively? Prob not. But the fact is, that there wasn’t the slightest idea that someone would be offended by his costume.

Original Post:

Can anyone really say they’re surprised? Notorious anti-Arab racist and Jewish Defense League alumnus Assemblyman Dov Hikind is now making headlines for attending his family Purim party over the weekend in blackface, or as he puts it, as “sort of a black basketball player.”

From the New York Observer‘s Politicker website:

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.”

The Assemblyman’s wife was dressed as a devil and his son was a trippy, yin-yang-faced “angel.”

His son Yoni posted a photo on Facebook saying “How cool are my folks… Lol”:

hikund
The Hikinds (Photo: Facebook)

On his blog, Dov Hikund says he can’t understand the controvery. As if to ask “hasn’t anyone been paying attention to all the racist shit I’ve been saying for years?!” Hikind writes, “I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim—or for that matter understands me—would have a problem with this.”

He also told the New York Observer:

“I can’t imagine anyone getting offended. You know, anyone who knows anything about Purim knows that if you walk throughout the community, whether it’s Williamsburg, Boro Park, Flatbush, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, people get dressed up in, you name it, you know, in every kind of dress-up imaginable,” Mr. Hikind said. “Purim, you know, everything goes and it’s all done with respect. No one is laughing, no one is mocking. No one walked in today and said, ‘Oh my God.’ … It’s all just in good fun with respect always, whatever anyone does it’s done with tremendous amounts of respect and with dignity, of course.”

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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37 Responses

  1. tokyobk
    February 25, 2013, 3:16 pm

    Pretty uncool, Yoni.

    And by the way, understanding the holiday of Purim means knowing that the Jewish people hail from every country, as the Megillah narrates, “from India to Eithiopia.”

    That might in turn make someone generally aware of diversity within and without. But, obviously not.

    • Cliff
      February 25, 2013, 6:15 pm

      blackface for diversity? so long as it’s Purim

      gotcha

      • tokyobk
        February 25, 2013, 11:16 pm

        Obviously you did not get me. I’ll try again.

        The exercise is a disgrace by any standard and though Hikind justifies it with it being Purim, in fact that excuse is incoherent.

        And given that Hikind expects full sensitivity he is moreover a hypocrite.

  2. ToivoS
    February 25, 2013, 3:36 pm

    How does this fool keep getting elected? Anyone know that assembly district?

    • lysias
      February 25, 2013, 4:06 pm

      District map of Hikind’s Assembly District 48 in Brooklyn (Borough Park, Mapleton, and Midwood). There’s a lot of overlap between this district and Jerry Nadler’s 8th New York District in the U.S. House (although Nadler’s district includes, besides parts of Brooklyn, the southwest part of Manhattan).

    • Cliff
      February 25, 2013, 6:15 pm

      orthodox jews like him vote him in?

  3. justicewillprevail
    February 25, 2013, 3:46 pm

    The fact that this idiot doesn’t get the symbolism of this speaks volumes about him and his racist mindset. Oh but he does racism with respect and dignity. Tell that to the Palestinians.

  4. Ecru
    February 25, 2013, 4:00 pm

    A real class act they’ve got there. I wonder how he’d feel about people turning up dressed as Himler or Hitler (respectfully of course).

    • lysias
      February 25, 2013, 4:49 pm

      Or Julius Streicher, whose last words as he mounted the scaffold at Nuremberg were a shouted “Purimfest 1946!”

  5. DICKERSON3870
    February 25, 2013, 4:46 pm

    RE: “Notorious anti-Arab racist and Jewish Defense League alumnus Assemblyman Dov Hikind is now making headlines for attending his family Purim party over the weekend in blackface . . .” ~ Adam Horowitz

    MY COMMENT: This reminds me a bit of a Purim photo I saw on an Israeli blog several years ago. The photo was of three individuals on a city street (Tel Aviv, I think) dressed in their Purim costumes and proudly ‘aping’ for the camera. The three were attired in pristine, white KKK regalia with their faces fully covered excepting holes for their eyes. Their robes were even adorned with ornate cross patches that looked to me like the official KKK insignia.

    P.S. ALSO SEE “Dear Congress: What the Purim video reveals about the racism embedded in the Israeli state structure”, by Scott McConnell, Mondoweiss, 3/12/10
    This is about a ninety second video of Israeli settlers holding a Purim Party in East Jerusalem. In it, the settlers are singing a song of praise for Baruch Goldstein, the American born Jewish doctor who shot and killed twenty-nine Palestinian worshipers in Hebron in 1994.
    “Dr. Goldstein, Dr. Goldstein” their song goes, “Everybody loves you.”
    Link – link to mondoweiss.net

  6. seafoid
    February 25, 2013, 4:52 pm

    Purim is the feast where everything is upside down. Imagine Purim bulldozers demolishing Jewish homes or Jews getting Purim Palestinian water rations.

  7. Jeff Klein
    February 25, 2013, 5:46 pm

    I remember years ago when my children were little they were given a set of alphabet blocks as a gift from my father-in-law. The letter “I” had a picture of a Native American “Indian” in feathered”Redskin” headgear. He didn’t understand at first when I tried to explain that this was offensive.
    When I wondered how he would feel to see the letter “J” illustrated by a guy with a beard and a broad-brimmed hat, he got the idea. . .

    • W.Jones
      February 26, 2013, 2:57 am

      Yeah, I don’t think the I is offensive, and don’t think it would be offensive to have C with Canadian either. But as to the example you came up with, if “I” and “C” are OK like it seems, why not your example…..?

  8. kylebisme
    February 25, 2013, 5:52 pm

    Not quite as tasteless as whoever dressed up these kids as the Twin Towers (complete with flaming jets sticking out the sides), but tasteless non the less.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    February 25, 2013, 6:04 pm

    RE: “Mr. Hikind said a professional makeup artist came to his home to transform him into a ‘basketball player’ . . .” ~ from the New York Observer‘s Politicker website

    MY COMMENT: Hivkind was supposed to look like a “basketball player”? Judging from the photo, Hivkind actually looked more like Don Imus’ most racist, über-bizzare conception of a “nappy-headed ho”! ! !

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 25, 2013, 6:23 pm

      P.S.
      . . . Don we now our gay apparel
      Troll the ancient Purim carol,
      Fa la la la la la la la la. . .

      • ToivoS
        February 25, 2013, 9:31 pm

        Dickerson, I don’t often respond to your posts because I usually agree with your point and can’t add anything new. But in this case I thought Guilianni’s costume was funny and not offensive at all. Sometimes the line between humorous and offensive can be very thin. Given that Guilianni was living in pent house with a gay couple at that time, it is difficult to see this as disrespectful (of course later when he was running for pres in the homophobic Republican Party, this might have been interpreted differently).

      • DICKERSON3870
        February 26, 2013, 11:40 pm

        RE: “But in this case I thought Guilianni’s costume was funny and not offensive at all.” ~ TovioS

        MY COMMENT: I agree, it is nicely done and it is very funny. I certainly did not mean to deride it. Well done “camp” can be a lot of fun.
        Camp (style) – link to en.wikipedia.org

      • DICKERSON3870
        February 28, 2013, 5:39 pm

        RE: “Well done ‘camp’ can be a lot of fun.” – me (from above)

        PHOTO OF WARHOL & DIVINE – link to 2.bp.blogspot.com

  10. Jan
    February 25, 2013, 7:17 pm

    I wonder how the odious Dov Hikind would react if someone came to a party dressed as a Jew with a big hooked nose, bags of money under his arm, and a huge kippa. Do I think that he would judge this costume as “anti-Semitic?” Damned right he woulld

    • hophmi
      February 26, 2013, 2:43 am

      I see, as usual, that Mondoweiss can’t resist picking the low-hanging fruit.

      For the record, Hikind’s been condemned by Jews across the political and religious spectrums as he should have been, particularly in light of the fact that he condemned John Galliano two weeks ago for dressing up like a Chassid.

  11. RoHa
    February 25, 2013, 7:54 pm

    More fun for one of those festivals that celebrate mass kiling.

  12. just
    February 25, 2013, 8:27 pm

    His son looks like he might stand a chance despite his parents. I cannot believe anyone would think this funny.

  13. kalithea
    February 25, 2013, 11:07 pm

    I don’t want to pick on the kid. But she’s obviously channeling what rules them.

  14. Marco
    February 25, 2013, 11:35 pm

    It has to be asked: if Assemblyman Hikind were an evangelical Republican or Catholic Democrat, would he be forced to resign? What if he were an Arab Muslim Assemblyman doing blackface?

    Would he at least have groveled in shameful apology? The question answers itself.

    • Sin Nombre
      February 26, 2013, 7:50 am

      Marco is exactly right: It isn’t so much that this boob did this, it’s the amazing silence that accompanies it from the media in the main, and indeed beyond just the news and commentary sections. If, say, some leading southern Baptist or big Catholic personage did this, my God the coverage. My God the material it would provide for SNL, the evening talk show monologueists, John Stewart, and on and on.

      Just like looking at the difference between the sex scandal in the Catholic Church and that in the Eastern orthodox jewish community. For all the public knows, there’s no issue whatsoever with the former. “Scandal? Problem? Rabbi’s regularly fleeing to Israel to escape prosecution? Ortho parents having their entire community put the arm on them to cover up the serial abuse of their kids over years? What they hell are you talking about?”

      Even *mention* the word “priest” now though on television and what do you get? The pre-joke giggle anticipating the punch-line.

      • hophmi
        February 27, 2013, 3:41 pm

        ” it’s the amazing silence that accompanies it from the media in the main, and indeed beyond just the news and commentary sections.”

        What are you talking about? The NY Post, NY Times, and the Daily Show all did pieces on it.

  15. just
    February 26, 2013, 6:31 am

    Well, this makes for a lovely campaign photo if he has other political ambitions.

    He’s toast.

    • sardelapasti
      February 27, 2013, 1:18 am

      Even better as a campaign photo for Thompson, next to the official Friendship picture.

  16. Qualtrough
    February 26, 2013, 7:21 am

    Compare and contrast his reaction to being caught perpetrating what even a KKK member knows is an offensive stereotype with the butthurt that results when some ignorant Chinese kids or British royal dresses up as a German soldier for a costume party. Somehow that’s different and worthy of unending scorn until the appropriate amends are made and educational programs put in place.

    • yonah fredman
      February 27, 2013, 4:39 am

      Qualtrough- Hikind is definitely an insensitive idiot, but who but an insensitive idiot would call Prince Harry adorned with a swastika “dressed up as a German soldier”?

  17. Citizen
    February 26, 2013, 7:22 am

    There’s a petition at change.org addressed to Hikind and his governmental superiors–it eloquently states why he needs to apologize. He’s ultra sensitive concerning jewish sensitivities but seems not to care at all about anybody else’s sensitivities.

    Given his Purim costume, which seems to be a favorite in recent Purim parties, I’m sure he’d cherish this contemporary political analysis of the Book Of Esther with Hagel as Haman:
    link to jewishpress.com

    A contemporary political analysis of the Book Of Esther with Hagel as Haman:
    link to jewishpress.com

  18. Felice Gelman
    February 26, 2013, 4:14 pm

    Wonder how NYC mayoral wannabe Bill Thompson feels about his political pal Hikind now. How will Bill dress up on Halloween? Could this possibly put some pressure on these Progressive Except Palestine politicians that haunt every corner of NYC?

    • Les
      February 27, 2013, 2:18 pm

      Add to the mix candidate Christine Quinn’s call for the pardon of Jonathan Pollard.

  19. MK_Ultra
    February 26, 2013, 7:42 pm

    Where’s good ole Abe Foxman when you need him?

    • Woody Tanaka
      February 27, 2013, 2:39 pm

      “Where’s good ole Abe Foxman when you need him?”

      I’m guessing he’s too busy opposing American Muslim’s right to build mosques as they see fit.

  20. just
    February 26, 2013, 11:05 pm

    Jon Stewart opens the show with this story– it’s really funny!

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