Who is Dov Hikind?

A primer on the former state Assemblyman suing AOC, and non-obvious reason why it matters  

Anyone who remembers classic 2013 Jon Stewart bits, or immerses themselves in Borough Park politics, remembers Dov Hikind. Which means that not many people remember Dov Hikind. And yet the former NY State Assemblyman, featured on the late-night circuits after dressing in blackface at a Purim party, is as lively as ever. In the age of selective outrage, where anti-Semitism is fought by some on party lines, this case study is a timely one. I call it “Dov Hikind’s Greatest Hits” and it was inspired by Dov Hikind’s latest single: a lawsuit against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Dov recently retired from the State Assembly amidst allegations of funneling 3.1 million taxpayer dollars into a nonprofit where his sons were employed, not his first kiss with nepotism, and he began his indefinite sabbatical with angry Tweets and small crowd sizes. Dov, who once compared same-sex marriage to incest, has a new side-hustle. He founded Americans Against Anti-Semitism, an organization dedicated to fighting every kind of prejudice against Jews so long as it was perpetrated by Democrats. Dov, who supports racial profiling against Muslims, decides what counts as Anti-Semitism and weaponizes it accordingly. Though he represents an isolated fraction of Jews willing to weaponize racism, he is by no means an outlier in his creative new pursuits.

Dov first went after Max Rose, the NYC Congressman in my district who in his first 100 days helped push the 9/11 victims conversation through Congress, secured funds to repair Staten Island’s west seawall, organized a clean-up of Gateway National Recreation Area during the shutdown, donated his salary to the Coast Guard during the shutdown, made inroads in ebbing the flow of Fentanyl into his district from China, and was the first Democrat this spring to denounce Ilham Omar for the Jewish tropes she Tweeted.

Dov remains unimpressed. Following months of angry Tweets capped by the blatant lie that “Max Rose said nothing about Ilhan Omar” – Americans Against Anti-Semitism climaxed with a rally outside Rose’s Brooklyn Headquarters.

As you may have guessed from context, this is where the issue of crowd size emerged. Roughly 20 people showed up and were met by roughly three times as many Rose supporters. But Dov, who has ties to a right wing terrorist group, is not known for backing down from a losing cause. Faced with the inconvenience that Rose, who is Jewish, assertively crossed party lines do the thing he was protesting him not doing, Dov switched the campaign’s refrain to Max Rose “Must Do More” to confront the antisemitism of his colleagues.

Perhaps I was bias toward the integrity of Dov, who helped conceal the identities of sex offenders, but I couldn’t help but notice that his concerns about Anti-Semitism seemed most pressing in New York City’s only swing-district, currently occupied by a Democrat. After further research, I discovered yet more puzzling patterns. I couldn’t unearth clippings on the protest Dov launched against Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, who invited a holocaust denier to the State of The Union; or find Dov’s response to Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who Tweeted the racist trope that three Jews were buying the 2018 Midterms. Nothing on Republican Steve Scalise, who once attended a convention organized by the KKK Grand Wizard’s organization. Very little concern about Republican Steven King, who recently came out of the closet as a white nationalist.

In fact, one could almost argue that Dov Hikind “Must Do More” to confront the antisemitism of his colleagues.

Or that the #MAGA Jewish activist is not interested in confronting two parties at once.

All this lays the groundwork for what could be Dov Hikind’s greatest hit yet. His “Sergeant Pepper” if you will. Given the energy Dov unleashed on a moderate Jewish Congressman who sticks up for Jews and focuses on his borough instead of national politics, one need only imagine the hysterics bestowed upon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congresswoman with more Twitter followers than Jesus, an uncanny ability to go viral, and, let’s be nonpartisan about this, an astonishingly miserable record regarding basically anything Jewish.

AOC’s holocaust-southern border comparison alone gives a man like Dov two business quarter’s worth of “all Democrats are terrorists” Tweets. Dov Hikind basically met the Dov Hikind of the other side, and discovered she was a woman with 4.836 million more Twitter followers than him. And so, around the time Dov blocked me, for writing that story about double standards which hurt his feelings and bringing up the same-sex incest thing on Twitter, Dov was himself blocked by AOC, (a fantastic step in the right direction for her to regain credibility with the larger Jewish population). He then seized upon a ruling that Trump cannot block Twitter followers by applying the logic to her.

The ensuing media frenzy lasted almost three days.

After the depressing crowd size at his inaugural Max-Rose-wants-Jews-in-exhile-based-on-my-Tweets-with-lies-in-them rally, one can only imagine the relief Dov experienced when his name was put in the third paragraph of Politico, New York Times, and Washington Post articles. He went on Fox Business to call Democrats “a disease infecting the Jewish people.” The prolific news organization BreakingIsraelNews.com said of the lawsuit “many are calling it ‘the most iconic lawsuit ever’” (Step aside, BP Deep Water Horizon Environmental Disaster Settlement).

A contest between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Dov Hikind, as a New York Giants fan, is like watching a Super Bowl where the Patriots play the Patriots wearing blackface with way less Twitter followers. But, unfortunately, this isn’t just about Dov Hikind’s greatest hits, which would be funnier on its own. Judging by the noiselessness in the few weeks since news of the AOC lawsuit broke, it sound like people are once again moving on from Dov, who once held up a poster of Lady Gaga and said this: “When Lady Gaga got involved and told us we should support gay marriage, I said, ‘Lady Gaga, you know she is my example of how I should lead my life and how I should behave.’”

(Dov went on to say: “the only reason to oppose gay marriage, holding aloft a Bible. ‘I wish it wasn’t in the book, because if it wasn’t, I’d be standing right next to you over there pushing this, supporting it, because there would be no reason not to.’”)

As much as I’d like to keep thanking Dov for protecting The Chosen People against Lady Gaga and my supportive Jewish congressman who is doing a good job, I can’t, because people with more influence than Dov are doing the same thing more effectively. At 69, Dov is flaming out. But the MAGA-hat wearing Jews he’s trying to hang with are thriving, despite his own crowd size issues. Their tactic, finding the poorest Jewish-related messages available from radical Democrats and painting it as emblematic of the whole left, while too hypocritical to dignify with a response, is one we will see across every purple district in 2020, as Republicans try to paint moderates as complicit even while their standard-bearer tells people to go back to their countries and invites anti-Semites to the white house.

Jews will be pandered to as candidates weaponize Anti-Semitism. And these politicians will have the shameful support of the fringe number of sellouts willing to selectively define Anti-Semitism and claim to do so on behalf of the whole community. This is happening already in NY-11, where Max Rose’s opponent is suddenly in the past eight months concerned that anti-Semitism is plaguing the district she wants to win. Guess who she seems close to? Dov Hikind, who I hope starts golfing more, for his own sake and ours.

About the Author
Matt Matilsky has been involved with Israel advocacy and American politics since college. He actively contributes for local and national publications regarding regional and Israel-related issues. He works at a recruitment firm in New York City.
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