While I strongly believe that the son should not pay for the sins of the father, it is noteworthy that Rahm Emanuel has stepped up to the plate regarding his father’s recent racist remarks, and in doing so has certainly upset some stereotypes about himself as well as set what may be a precedent-setting first amongst US Administrations.
We are cautiously optimistic that such a commitment to fairness and equality will continue throughout the Obama administration :
NEW YORK TIMES
Emanuel Apologizes for Father’s ‘Arab’ Comments
By Sarah Wheaton
Representative Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff, called the president of an Arab-American group today to apologize for comments his father made to an Israeli newspaper.
In the remarks, Benjamin Emanuel discussed the potential impact of his son’s new position on U.S.-Israeli relations.
“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 elder Mr. Emanuel told the Israeli daily Ma’ariv, according to English-language reports in The Jerusalem Post and The Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Calling the comment an “unacceptable smear,” the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee had sent the younger Emanuel a letter (copied to Mr. Obama) calling on him to “disavow and repudiate these remarks publicly.”
“All we ask is to be treated in the same way as any other ethnic, racial or minority group,” said Kareem Shora, the A.D.C.’s executive director. “We’re not treating it as simply an Arab-American issue, we’re trying to treat it as an American issue.”
That led to Rahm Emanuel’s apology today.
“Today, Representative Emanuel called Mary Rose Oakar, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, apologized on behalf of his family and offered to meet with representatives of the Arab-American community at an appropriate time in the future,” said Nick Papas, a spokesman for the congressman.
Before Mr. Emanuel made his apology, Mr. Shora said the structure of the elder Mr. Emanuel’s remarks made their meaning clear. “The sequence of the statement was very important,” he said, adding that the ‘Arab’ line “was not separated in any way” from the ‘mopping’ line. He said there would be public outcry if “Arab” had been replaced with the name of any other ethnic group.
Benjamin Emanuel is not yet available for comment, according to an associate at the office of Ari Emanuel, a Hollywood agent and the congressman’s brother, to whom a message on the father’s answering machine referred press calls. Mr. Obama’s campaign declined to address the issue.
Filed under: Uncategorized