Dov Hikind dons blackface for Purim party (Updated)

US Politics
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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.”

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