Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) expressed his shock over remarks made by Brooklyn Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte who made divisive, inciting remarks about the Jewish community last night. Appearing on Leon Goldenberg’s “Community Matters” radio program, Bichotte spent several minutes in a combative rant about Jewish pressure being placed on her following her vocal opposition to NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Parental Choice in Education Act, which includes Education Tax Credits.
Bichotte told Goldenberg she won’t support the current proposal that Jewish organizations are currently pushing for because it would only benefit philanthropists and institutions and not poor families. She argued that her predecessor Rhoda Jacobs “who was supported by you guys” did not support Education Tax Credits; that neither did former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “I didn’t want to commit to something that I know my Jewish predecessor and my former Jewish Speaker did not support.” She said she is being targeted by the bill’s supporters because she’s a black woman. “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? 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?”
Hikind called Bichotte’s tirade shocking, insensitive, inappropriate and ignorant 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. 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. 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.”