Dov Hikind, a New York state assemblyman, apologized after
coming under criticism for dressing up in blackface for Purim.
people were offended," Hikind said Monday at a news conference outside his
Brooklyn home, according to the New York Daily News. "In hindsight, I should
have picked something else. It never crossed my mind for a split second that I
was doing something wrong." A photo of Hikind dressed in a black wig and wearing
dark makeup had been posted on Facebook. He is flanked by his wife, dressed as a
demon, and son, who is sporting yin-yang facial makeup.
"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,” said
Hikind's fellow Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Karim Camara, the chairman of
the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus,
in a statement picked up by New York media.
The Anti-Defamation League
blasted Hikind's costume as showing "terrible judgement." "There are so many
myriad costumes available to Jewish kids and adults during Purim, but putting on
blackface should not be one of them," Abraham Foxman, ADL's national director,
said in a statement. "This is especially true for a politician living in an
environment where ridicule and prejudice of African-Americans has a long and sad
history." Deborah Glick, an assemblywoman from Manhattan, was quoted by The New
York Times as saying the photo was "beyond offensive." Earlier, Hikind wrote on
his blog that the criticism was "political correctness to the absurd." Hikind is
a leading pro-Israel Democrat in New York who at times has sided with
Republicans and slammed President Obama on Israel policy.
Last week he
slammed fashion designer John Galliano, who had apologized for past anti-Semitic
outbursts, for "mocking" hasidic Jews when he was photographed in Manhattan
wearing a fedora and a long coat.