New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) responded with shock and outrage, after Brooklyn Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte made combative remarks against the Jewish community of New York on Sunday night.
Speaking on Leon Goldenberg's "Community Matters" radio program, Bichotte claimed that Jewish pressure was being placed on her for her opposition to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Parental Choice in Education Act, which includes Education Tax Credits.
Bichotte said the new proposal will only help philanthropists and institutions and not poor families, and then claimed she is being targeted with pressure to pass the proposal because she is an African American woman.
Speaking about her predecessor Rhoda Jacobs and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Bichotte stated, "I didn’t want to commit to something that I know my Jewish predecessor and my former Jewish Speaker did not support."
"No one pushed them the way you guys are pushing me…and it’s not like the majority of Jews in the district have voted for me or supported me. Okay? Why should I listen to people who are not even going to support me?," she ranted. "Why should I listen to people who didn’t put the same standard on a Jewish woman and a Jewish man, and are putting a different standard on a black woman?"
Responding to Bichotte's tirade, Hikind said Monday the Assemblymember's comments were inappropriate and ignore of the facts.
"I was stunned by what my colleague said to Leon Goldenberg," said Hikind. "The Jewish community, like the Catholic community, like many other segments of the community who support the Governor’s Parental Choice in Education Act, have all been working hard to explain the facts and dispel the misinformation about Education Tax Credits, which benefit families below a certain income threshold."
He explained, "these tax credits do not put one dime in the pockets of the so-called rich. But most importantly, these tax credits have never been a racial issue. The quest for support has never been gender-based."
"For Bichotte to state that she is being targeted because she is a black woman is so ludicrous it boggles the mind," argued the Assemblyman. "To refer to the Jewish community as ‘you guys’ and Assemblywoman Jacobs as her ‘Jewish predecessor’ and Speaker Silver as the ‘Jewish Speaker’ displays an insensitivity that’s hard to imagine and is thoroughly inappropriate. What a terrible shame it would be if the vital issue of Education Tax Credits – and equality of education opportunities for all New York State children – were to be cast unfairly and shamefully as a racial issue."