Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has settled a lawsuit with former Brooklyn state Assemblyman Dov Hikind the day before she was scheduled to testify in federal court about her decision to block him on Twitter.
Hikind told reporters on Monday the Democratic congresswoman blocked him after he responded to an Ocasio-Cortez statement comparing U.S. detention centers at the border to concentration camps and invoking the Holocaust message of “never again.”
“It was an incredibly egregious, insensitive, uneducated, disrespectful comment to the memory of the 6 million who were murdered by the Nazis and to survivors all over the world who went through hell on earth,” Hikind said.
“Survivors of the Holocaust know that a concentration camp is where people are murdered, where people are tortured, where people are worked to death, where people are starved to death,” he added.
— Dov Hikind (@HikindDov) November 4, 2019
Hikind, who is head of the group Americans Against Antisemitism, said his mother was imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland during World War II and his grandmother and other members of his family died there.
In a statement Monday, Ocasio-Cortez conceded she was wrong to block Hikind on Twitter, the New York Post reported.
“I have reconsidered my decision to block Dov Hikind from my Twitter account,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “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,” she said.
“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.”
Hikind described Ocasio-Cortez’s settling of the lawsuit as a “great victory,” according to the Post.
“So this is rather remarkable that she sincerely apologizes for blocking me,” he said. “This is a great moment. I hope that more good can come out of this.”
Hikind said he didn’t know why the congresswoman blocked him on Twitter, a move that prompted him to file a lawsuit in July.
“I knew that I never harassed her, because that’s not what I do,” he said. “I have a different point of view.”
The former state lawmaker encouraged Ocasio-Cortez to visit his neighborhood in Brooklyn and meet survivors of the Holocaust.
“Let the survivors share with her what a concentration camp means to a survivor of the Holocaust. … I hope she will take me up on this offer,” Hikind told reporters.
He also exhorted Ocasio-Cortez to speak out against anti-Semitism, saying it has reached levels in New York that he has not witnessed in the city in his lifetime.
In an Instagram video posted in June, Ocasio-Cortez contended that the federal government is “running concentration camps on our southern border. And that is exactly what they are.”
“I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity that ‘never again’ means something,” she said. “The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it.”
She defended the comparison on CNN later in the month.
The congresswoman said at the time that she had communicated with Holocaust survivors that did not believe the “concentration camps” at the U.S. border were like what the Nazis did in World War II, but she argued it was a step along the way to that.
Ocasio-Cortez says that she and her team have made sure to tell Holocaust survivors that she is right for using the term “concentration camp”
Ocasio-Cortez once again invokes “Never Again,” which is an explicit reference to the Holocaust pic.twitter.com/ljR6RbbJ6e
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 27, 2019
“Whether it is a concentration camp or whether it is the final steps of that phase from happening,” Ocasio-Cortez said, “and even at the earliest steps, we have to make sure that dehumanizing [does not happen] and that ‘never again’ means never again for anyone.”
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