Pertanda baik bahwa   Rahm Emanuel tidak akan menjadi pendukung buta Israel?

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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 
Anti-Discrimination Committee.

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 
White House."

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 
the future".

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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