Pertanda baik bahwa Rahm Emanuel tidak akan menjadi pendukung buta Israel?
Obama aide apologises to US-Arabs
President-elect Barack Obama's White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel has
apologised to the US-Arab community for remarks made by his father.
Benjamin Emanuel told an Israeli newspaper that his son, who is Jewish, would
"obviously influence the president to be pro-Israel".
He also referred to Arabs in a way which a leading Arab-American group called
an "unacceptable smear".
A spokesman for Rahm Emanuel said he had called the group to apologise.
Mr Emanuel also offered to meet members of the American-Arab
In the interview last week with the Israeli daily newspaper Ma'ariv,
Israeli-born Benjamin Emanuel talked about his son's new job.
Anger at remarks
He said: "Obviously he'll influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why
wouldn't he? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to be mopping floors at the
His remarks angered the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which
called on Rahm Emanuel to condemn them.
On Thursday, his office issued a statement saying that the veteran Democratic
congressman had called the group's president, Mary Rose Oakar.
We cannot allow Arabs and Muslims to be portrayed in these unacceptable
Mary Rose Oakar, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
It said that he had "apologised on behalf of his family and offered to meet
with representatives of the Arab-American community at an appropriate time in
On its website, the committee quoted Mr Rahm as saying: "From the fullness of
my heart, I personally apologise on behalf of my family and me. These are not
the values upon which I was raised or those of my family."
Ms Oakar welcomed the apology, saying: "We cannot allow Arabs and Muslims to be
portrayed in these unacceptable terms."
Rahm Emanuel served as deputy chief of staff to Bill Clinton and analysts say
he has a reputation for forceful negotiation and unwavering loyalty.
As Mr Obama's chief of staff - and one of his closest advisers - he will be
responsible for delivering the president's policy platform.
Some Middle East commentators have voiced concern about the appointment of Mr
Emanuel, who has a pro-Israel record.
However, the congressman himself dismissed the idea and said that Mr Obama did
not need his influence to "orientate his policy toward Israel".
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2008/11/14 11:07:31 GMT
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