The usually quiet feud between Councilman David Greenfield and Assemblyman Dov Hikind is now out in the open.
Last night on his radio show, Mr. Greenfield repeatedly declared “Shame on you!” to Mr. Hikind and railed against him for allegedly besmirching an injured tourist earlier in the day.
“You know I don’t normally discuss this internal politics. You know I’m an elected official and Baruch Hashem I’m privileged,” Mr. Greenfield said, according to audio posted on the JP Updates news site. “I do this business in good faith. I help people in good faith. I make a good faith effort. And I was shocked. I really was shocked and so disappointed. And you know it’s so unfortunate, … [that] another so-called frum elected official, decided to release a press release–can you imagine?–issue a press release today not only attacking the victim but attacking us as well. In fact, the headline of the press release is ‘False Reporting a Dangerous Habit.'”
Mr. Hikind responded this morning by dismissing the comments as “vitriolic and ultimately meaningless statements.”
The spat–in which the two power brokers in Brookyln’s Orthodox Jewish community never referred to each other by name–stems from an incident involving a London man who claimed he was attacked in Brooklyn Tuesday morning. He subsequently recanted the story, according to reports.
On his Thursday night radio show, Mr. Greenfield read a statement from the man insisting he still believes he was attacked but admitting he may have injured himself in a fall. Mr. Greenfield–who suggested early on that the incident was part of a wave of “knockout” attacks where perpetrators attempt to knock out innocent victims with a single blow–then tore into Mr. Hikind for issuing a statement saying, “It’s important not to make statements until matters are clarified.”
“‘False reporting’? There was no false reporting. This person gave an honest report with the information that they had. A ‘dangerous habit’? The implication that this individual is somehow a habitual liar. That’s ridiculous! That’s absolutely ridiculous!” Mr. Greenfield exclaimed. “This stuff happens behind the scenes. I usually never discuss it. But I’m really, really outraged today. Here I am. I work hard. I’ve worked from early morning to late at night and other people have nothing better to do and nothing positive to add to the conversation. All they do is take potshots at you.”
“If someone comes into my community, and it’s a tourist, and they feel like they’ve been attacked, well I’ll tell you what other elected official: I’m going to fight for them! And shame on you for criticizing me. And shame on you for creating machlokes [conflict]. And shame on you for sinas chinem [baseless hatred]. And shame on you for criticizing a victim,” continued Mr. Greenfield.
Reached for comment, Mr. Hikind provided a statement standing by his earlier release and criticizing Mr. Greenfield’s “theatrics.”
“His 15-minute rant left everyone who heard it flabbergasted. Was it paranoia? Theatrics? I hadn’t attacked anyone,” he maintained.
View the full statement below:
“While returning from a simcha last night, I received a call that a politician had taken umbrage with something I said about our office being careful before reporting on matters. His 15-minute rant left everyone who heard it flabbergasted. Was it paranoia? Theatrics? I hadn’t attacked anyone.
Regardless, he indulged in the very thing he accused me of. I was sad to hear that.
Considering the vitriolic and ultimately meaningless statements that were made in a public forum, I have been urged to respond directly. But how does one respond to paranoia?
Regarding my initial statement, I stand by it.
As for the attacks on me, I believe the best response is to not perpetuate a cycle of sinas chinam—of needless hatred. My parents and rabbis taught me to focus on the positive and speak well of people in our community.
I would prefer to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Shabbos entirely free of machlokes. May we all avoid loshon horah.”