WASHINGTON (JTA) — An Arab-American group wants Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel to repudiate remarks made by Emanuel’s father.
President-elect Obama last week named Emanuel, an Illinois congressman whose father is Israeli, as his White House chief of staff. In an interview with the Israeli daily Ma’ariv, Benjamin Emanuel 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."
In an e-mail blast, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee urged its members to protest the "detestable" comments by fax or through e-mail.
The ADC also wrote a letter to Emanuel asking him to repudiate his father’s comments, saying it "views this characterization of an Arab as an unacceptable smear."
"One can readily imagine the justifiable outcry if someone made a similar remark about African‐Americans, Jews, or Hispanics concerning cleaning the floors of the White House," the letter said. "Do the normal standards of decency and civility not apply when talking about Arabs?"