Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has unblocked Dov Hikind from her Twitter account, a day before she would have been forced to make a court appearance to explain her decision to block the former New York Assemblyman.
Hikind, who retired from the Assembly at the end of 2018 after 35 years in office, has continued to be outspoken on political matters, particularly relating to Israel and anti-Semitism. He has criticized Ocasio-Cortez on a range of issues, from her positions on Israel to her comment that U.S.-run detention centers for illegal immigrants are “concentration camps.”
Hikind was blocked from the Congresswoman’s personal Twitter account in July – one day before a federal appellate court ruled that President Donald Trump had violated the First Amendment by blocking critics from his own personal Twitter account. Hikind filed suit in federal court, and a judge ordered Ocasio-Cortez to appear in court Tuesday. The agreement reached with Hikind Monday, which includes unblocking and apologizing to him, means Ocasio-Cortez will not have to make the court appearance.
Hikind’s attorney Jacob Weinstein said the agreement will be formally presented to the judge on Tuesday.
In her statement Monday, Ocasio-Cortez said, “I have reconsidered my decision to block Dov Hikind from my Twitter account. 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. 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.”
At a press conference Monday, Hikind said that while he has sharply criticized Ocasio-Cortez’s statements, “I never harassed her.”
“We articulate our positions very strongly,” said Hikind, “but we were respectful.”
Hikind called the agreement “a big victory for freedom of speech.”
“The consequences of this case are much further reaching than my own Twitter account,” Hikind added, “because it affirms the Constitutional right of American citizens to directly petition those in positions of power without the threat of being shut out from conversations that affect everyday life. With that said, I hope that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has not only unblocked me but several other critics who deserve the same restoration of free speech – namely journalists Ryan Saavedra, Liz Wheeler and Harry Cherry.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry by Hamodia as to whether she has unblocked other critics as well.
Hikind also said he’d like to “commend the congresswoman for coming to the right conclusion about my First Amendment rights. We’ve had and will continue to have very sharp disagreements on a range of policy issues … and I’ll continue to voice my opinion in critical terms as needed. I’ve let her team know that I’m ready to meet anytime, any place, to have a more constructive dialogue rather than remain necessarily adversarial on Twitter. The ball is in her court.”
Updated Monday, November 4, 2019 at 2:38 pm .