Earlier I mentioned that New York pol Dov Hikind had gotten in trouble for showing up at a Purim party in black face. For those unfamiliar with Jewish holidays, Purim is a bit like Halloween. You dress up in costumes, though the meaning of the Holiday is very different. Just hopefully not wildly offensive ones, especially if you’re an elected official. But now Hikind is digging even deeper. If blackface is a problem, he asks, why isn’t it a problem that people were there dressed up as Arabs?
From the NYDN …
“In hindsight, I should have picked something else. It never crossed my mind for a split second that I was doing something wrong. It was as innocent as something can be,” said Hikind, who drew heavy condemnation for wearing an Afro-style wig and having a makeup artist darken his skin for his basketball-player getup.
“People in the community were dressed up as Arabs. What was that about?” asked Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who’s known for his impassioned critiques of anything he thinks smacks of the slightest anti-Semitism, according to our Reuven Blau, who was on scene for the presser outside the longtime lawmaker’s home.
“My wife was dressed as the devil. And she’s not a devil. It was to look different on Purim without deep intentions. I just wanted to look different and unrecognizable,” Hikind said.
“I understand people’s sensitivities. Nobody meant anything. It was not meant to offend you or hurt you in any fashion. I’m sorry people were offended. It was not meant that way.”
So dressing up as Arabs? Yeah, probably not a hot idea either.
Obviously there are many Jewish politicians in New York City politics. But Hikind is a special case because he might fairly be called the top sectarian Jewish politician in the city, though obviously he’s doesn’t represent anyone but his own constituency in Brooklyn which includes a huge proportion of Orthodox Jews.
It’s incredibly embarrassing.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.