NY governor: Jews can't dance

Cuomo faces flak for mocking the 'rhythm of our Jewish brothers and sisters.'

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (photo credit: REUTERS)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
(photo credit: REUTERS)
For the second time this month, an American elected official has made a broad generalization about Jewish capabilities. This time, it’s not that they have the power to control the weather – it’s that they don’t know how to dance.
During a speech at a Harlem church on Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made an awkward joke that fell flat, according to news reports of the event.
“I want you to know as a matter of full disclosure, I am a Catholic,” Cuomo reportedly told the crowd.
“Catholics basically believe the same teachings that Baptists believe. We just do it without the rhythm. But we try. We are not as without rhythm as some of our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
Cuomo then singled out his former campaign adviser Hank Sheinkopf, who was sitting in the front row wearing a yarmulka.
“I was just watching Mr. Sheinkopf here in the front row, moving to the music,” Cuomo said. “It was ugly. It was ugly.”
While Cuomo’s remarks were likely meant in jest, not everyone was amused.
Sheinkopf himself told The New York Post, “There weren’t many people laughing, but I didn’t feel humiliated.”
Jacob Kornbluh, a hassidic reporter for JewishInsider.com, posted a photo of himself dancing on Twitter with the caption, “Hey @NYGovCuomo #SayItAintSo.”
But he later followed it up with: “Snark aside, Cuomo’s record on Israel and fighting antisemitism is crystal clear.”
Republican operative Arthur Schwarz tweeted: “Oh look. @NYGovCuomo is in the Jew joke business now.”
Cuomo is facing reelection this November, for what could be his third term in office. Actress Cynthia Nixon recently announced she would be challenging Cuomo in the Democratic primary, which will be held in September.