Veteran New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind received harsh criticism of his Purim costume on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Jon Stewart" on Tuesday night.
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Hikind, a longtime and outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism, dressed up as an African-American for the Jewish holiday of Purim, sporting a basketball jersey, a wig of curly black hair and blackface.
The segment mocking Dov Hikind's choice of costume and inept response to the criticism it drew was characterized as a "War on Purim", with African-American Jessica Williams, the show’s “Senior Purim Correspondent” making many refrences to the Jewish holiday and its traditions.
The Democratic assemblyman said he never meant to hurt or offend anyone, but black leaders criticized him, saying his costume was insensitive.
Hikind initially defended his costume, saying he meant no offense and calling the reaction "political correctness to the absurd." He told CBS Newsradio 880 in New York that it "never crossed his mind" that it might be offensive and, that he didn't regret the costume he wore. But at a news conference in front of his Brooklyn home Monday afternoon, he said he would be more careful and sensitive in the future.
Assemblyman Karim Camara of the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus said Hikind's costume recalled blackface minstrel shows, which he called deeply painful to African-Americans.