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Obama top aide apologizes to Arabs

world Updated: Nov 14, 2008 10:42 IST
Obama top aide apologizes to Arabs

President-elect Barack Obama's White House chief of staff apologised to the Arab-American community for remarks his Israeli-born father made to an Israeli newspaper.

Last week, Benjamin Emanuel talked about his son Rahm Emanuel's new job and told the Israeli daily Ma'ariv that "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."

That prompted an outcry from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which called on Rahm Emanuel, who is Jewish, to condemn the "unacceptable smear."

On Thursday, Rahm Emanuel called the group's president, Mary Rose Oakar, to apologise on behalf of his family.

"These are not the values upon which I was raised or those of my family," the group quoted him as saying.

Oakar said the apology was accepted.

Emanuel spokesman Nick Papas confirmed the phone call and said Emanuel "offered to meet with representatives of the Arab-American community at an appropriate time in the future.