Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) issued a formal apology to former Brooklyn Democratic State Assemblyman Dov Hikind on Monday as part of a settlement over a lawsuit regarding her decision to block him on Twitter.
“I have reconsidered my decision to block Dov Hikind from my Twitter account,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement obtained by The New York Post. “Mr. Hikind has a First Amendment right to express his views and should not be blocked for them.”
“In retrospect, it was wrong and improper and does not reflect the values I cherish. I sincerely apologize for blocking Mr. Hikind,” the statement continued. “Now and in the future, however, I reserve the right to block users who engage in actual harassment or exploit my personal/campaign account, @AOC, for commercial or other improper purposes.”
The apology comes only a day before the self-proclaimed “radical” congresswoman was set to testify in federal court. Hikind filed a lawsuit against Ocasio-Cortez for blocking him over the summer after a federal appeals court ruled that President Donald Trump had violated the First Amendment by blocking people on Twitter. The three-judge panel determined that the president’s action was in violation of the Constitution because he used his account to conduct official government business.
The lawsuit put forth that Ocasio-Cortez blocked Hikind after he criticized the freshman lawmaker for repeatedly comparing Nazi concentration camps to illegal immigrant detention facilities. The former Brooklyn assemblyman, who founded a nonprofit organization seeking to combat anti-Semitism, referred to her analogy as an “incredibly egregious, insensitive, uneducated, disrespectful comment.”
While Ocasio-Cortez has claimed in the past to have Sephardic Jewish ancestry, she has also made eyebrow-raising statements about the Jewish people — leading repeated allegations of anti-Semitism to swirl around the congresswoman. In addition to comparing detainment facilities to concentration camps, she has compared a migrant caravan trying to enter the United States illegally to Jews fleeing the Holocaust.
She has also vehemently defended her fellow Democratic colleagues, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), amid widespread backlash for promoting age-old anti-Semitic canards.
In addition, she has also come out in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish the Jewish state of Israel by politically and economically depriving the country for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinian-Arabs. The movement initially metastasized on American college campuses and is described by the Anti-Defamation League as “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence.” Ocasio-Cortez co-sponsored Omar’s bill defending BDS and was only one of 17 members of Congress to vote against a resolution condemning BDS.
While Hikind expressed disappointment that he would not be able face Ocasio-Cortez in court, he extended an invitation to the New York lawmaker to meet Holocaust survivors in his community and learn what a concentration camp means to them.
“I also want to address to Ocasio-Cortez, to ask her, we have had an outbreak of anti-Semitism in New York that we have never had before — the numbers are unprecedented,” Hikind said during a press conference on Monday “[A]ttacks upon Jews, Jewish blood in the streets, Swastikas being painted on synagogues, hate speech all over the place in New York.”
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) November 4, 2019
“I want to challenge Ocasio-Cortez, who speaks out on everything that’s important for America, has not spoken out about anti-Semitism,” he continued. “I challenge Ocasio-Cortez to speak up, to stand up, with me, with others, and speak out against the anti-Semitism that has invaded the streets of our city and our community.”