WASHINGTON (JTA) — Rahm Emanuel apologized to an Arab-American group for his father’s disparaging remarks about Arabs.
"From the fullness of my heart, I personally apologize on behalf of my family and me," Emanuel (D-Ill.), designated as President-elect Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, said in a phone call Thursday to Mary Rose Oakar, the president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "These are not the values upon which I was raised or those of my family."
A spokeswoman for Emanuel, an Illinois congressman, confirmed the call. She said Emanuel offered to meet with representatives of the Arab-American community "at an appropriate time in the future."
Benjamin Emanuel, an Israeli-born doctor, last week told the Ma’ariv daily, "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."
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee called the remarks "an unacceptable smear."