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November 2008

Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect

November 15, 2008

Emanuel Calls ADC to Repudiate Negative Comments About Arabs

Some say that this is not sufficient and I maintain that it was the father who made the racist remark and it was up to him to apologize.

Washington, DC | November 13, 2008 | | Today, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, recently appointed White House Chief of Staff to President-Elect Barack Obama, called American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) President Mary Rose Oakar to repudiate negative comments about Arabs made by his father Benjamin Emanuel .

In the phone call, Congressman Emanuel said, “From the fullness of my heart, I personally apologize on behalf of my family and me. These are not the values upon which I was raised or those of my family.” During the phone call, Emanuel added, it is unacceptable to make remarks such as these against any ethnic or religious group.

ADC President Mary Rose Oakar said, “We cannot allow Arabs and Muslims to be portrayed in these unacceptable terms. I welcome Rahm’s apology and his pledge to meet with our Community. I also thank our members and friends who responded who expressed concern about this matter. ”

Israel : Consumer Boycott

Individual consumers can show their opposition to Israel’s project by participating in a consumer boycott of Israeli goods and services. A consumer boycott works in two ways: firstly by generating bad publicity for the offender and secondly by applying economic pressure for change.

The Israeli barcode begins with 729The Israeli barcode starts with 729


Raise awareness among consumers about the consequences of buying Israeli goods and services. Pressurise supermarkets and shops into removing goods with barcode 729 – denoting Israeli origin – from their shelves. Encourage companies who make use of Israeli technology and components to find alternatives and join the boycott. Focus the attention of the world on Israeli occupation and apartheid and expose those who bankroll the Israeli regime; and to foster an environment in which it is unacceptable to promote Israeli policies.


Individual consumers can show their opposition to Israel’s project by participating in a consumer boycott of Israeli goods and services. A boycott can also put pressure on companies whose exports are linked to some of the most evident aspects of the Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Agrexco export fruit and vegetables for sale all over Europe and the US under the trade name Carmel. Much of its produce is grown on confiscated Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley, and the Israeli government owns 51% of the company. Jaffa Oranges were famous for centuries before Israelis successfully colonised the Palestinian name along with the city of Yafa.

Soldiers and a settler watch as the Occupation destroys a Palestinian water tank

Israeli forces and settlers watch as an occupation bulldozer destroys a Palestinian water tank


For lists of boycotted foods, machineries etc; look here

What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”

ADC on Anti-Arab remarks of Emmanuel’s father

From Josh Landis : I just received the following email from the ADC:

The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee urges you to take immediate action by using the contact info below to express your disappointment to President-Elect Obama and Congressman Rahm Emmanuel for the detestable anti-Arab remarks Emmanuel’s father made this past week.

ADC wrote a letter to Congressman Emmauel and President-Elect Barack Obama asking the congressman to publicly repudiate the derogatory comments his father made. Benjamin Emmanuel was quoted by numerous Israeli and American publications as saying  “Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”

There should be no place for such demeaning rhetoric and these comments are contrary to the very type change the President-Elect promised he would bring to America.

Contact President-Elect Obama by fax at 202.228.5417 or through this online contact form .

Contact Congressman Emmanuel by fax at 202.225.5603 or via E-mail at

Here is some language I wrote up the a few days ago that may be useful in formulating a response:

The anti-Arab remark made by Rahm Emanuel’s father is not consistent with the spirit of change and ethnic equality that President Elect Obama promises to bring to the White House. Arab Americans have put great hope in his election. They believe that they have a part to play in building a new and more equal America.

A public statement by Rahm Emanuel explaining that he does not approve of his father’s remark would go a long way in reassuring us that the president elect and new administration value Arab Americans. We all hope to move beyond the divisiveness of the past to create a future of mutual respect. By distancing himself from his father’s remark, Rahm Emanuel will demonstrate that he does not share his father’s opinion of Arabs and will help the new administration act as an honest broker in the Middle East and at home.

Rosa sat

This message is being sms-ed all over Washington :

Rosa sat so Martin could walk
Martin walked so Barack could run
Barack ran so our children could fly

Arab Americans will be next. No longer confined to sweeping floors at the White House (see Emanuel’s father)

Obama, Emanuel and Israel


In the first major appointment of his administration, President-elect Barack Obama has named as his chief of staff Congressman Rahm Emanuel, an Israeli citizen and Israeli army veteran whose father, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was a member of Menachem Begin’s Irgun forces during the Nakba and named his son after “a Lehi combatant who was killed” — i.e., a member of Yitzhak Shamir’s terrorist Stern Gang, responsible for, in addition to other atrocities against Palestinians, the more famous bombing of the King David Hotel and assassination of the UN peace envoy Count Folke Bernadotte.

In rapid response to this news, the editorial in the next day’s Arab News (Jeddah) was entitled “Don’t pin much hope on Obama — Emanuel is his chief of staff and that sends a message”. This editorial referred to the Irgun as a “terror organization” (a judgment call) and concluded: “Far from challenging Israel, the new team may turn out to be as pro-Israel as the one it is replacing.”

That was always likely. Obama repeatedly pledged unconditional allegiance to Israel during his campaign, most memorably in an address to the AIPAC national convention which Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery characterized as “a speech that broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning”, and America’s electing a black president has always been more easily imagined than any American president’s declaring his country’s independence from Israeli domination.


R. Emanuel: Repudiate this disgusting racist comment

Posted by Helena Cobban
November 7, 2008 11:09 AM EST | Link
Filed in US politics

… that was reportedly made by your father, Benjamin Emanuel, to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv in response to your appointment as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff:

    “Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel… Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.

(HT: B of Moon of Alabama)

In many Jewish-Israeli circles, including apparently the Irgun/Likud circles the elder Emanuel has been associated with for many decades, “Arab work” is associated with doing all the dirty or hard work, very frequently carried out by members of Israel’s substantial ethnically Palestinian (Arab) minority, that allows so many of Jewish Israelis, nowadays, to live lives of relative ease and prosperity.

But Rahm Emanuel is not just a provincial-minded Jewish Israeli. He is also a US citizen. Indeed, he’s about to rise to one of the highest positions in our country.

There is a good question as to whether anyone occupying such a sensitive position in Washington ought to also hold the citizenship of a foreign country– or whether, in the circumstances, Rahm Emanuel should lay down his foreign citizenship.


Angry Arab : raining on the parade

Of course I feel happy for Obama’s victory but I share some of the pessimism of Angry Arab below

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember me: Obama bashing begins here. It was a noisy night in Washington, DC. Cars were parading the streets and honking their horns all night long. People around were very excited and people walked the streets and yelled and shouted in joy. AlJazeera offices: now that was a different story. The chaos there could not hide the festive atmosphere. People took bets and they had a sheet with staff names. I asked who was betting on McCain: no one, they said but they were betting on when the results would come in with news of Obama victory. People were excited and emotional. As I sat with the three anchors listening to Obama victory speech, I would make critical comments. I could tell that people did not enjoy that and there was a white technician who was very emotional got really mad at me because I was being critical of Obama. I ran into Lawrence Korb (former assistant secretary of defence under Ronald Regan) and I asked him if he had endorsed Obama. He said that he did not do that publicly but that he was advising him on defense and national security policies. He said that there is a move to appoint Richard Halbrooke as Secretary of State. I said: but the man (in addition to annoying the hell out of me) is the biggest self-promoter in the world. I woke up to day and put on Fox News: yesterday, at the GYM I turned to Fox and the people in the GYM were about to kill me. Not Fox, they yelled. I said: are you kidding. They are hilarious and I will derive a lot of pleasure watching them this week and in weeks to come. Fox mentioned the headline of Al-Akhbar newspaper which referred to Obma as “the black Jack Kennedy”. I was not amused and I did not like that headline by Al-Akhbar at all. Why should the White Man always be a term of reference? He is not Jack Kennedy: and even though I don’t support Obama but he is much more capable and effective than Kennedy, and he did not use his daddy’s money to achieve victory, and Obama wrote his own words. The festive coverage of the Arab press is really bothering me and I tried to express that in my appearance on AlJazeera. I will write about that soon in Al-Akhbar. Those who supported Obama: you will be disappointed and you will remember my caution. Remember me when Obama will endorse an Israeli war on a refugee camp and on a Lebanese village, and he will call that justified self-defense. Remember me when Obama will mourn the deaths of Israelis and will celebrate the deaths of Arabs and Muslims. Remember me when he orders his first bombing campaign on some remote area of Pakistan. Remember me when he betrays the poor in favor of Wall Street. Remember me when he will betray the aspirations of black people in favor of the white middle class that is now the headline of the Democratic Party. Remember me when Obama will not fight for his health reform plan, and will he not deliver on many of his promises. Remember me when Obama will stick to his campaign promise of opposing gay marriage. Remember me when when Obama will continue to blame the failure of the American occupation of Iraq on the Iraqi people themselves. On Angry Arab: the Obama bashing has just begun and will continue unabated.


Excellent interviews about the US elections

Found in the comments of this article on information clearing house web site

YES the situation is not good and NO it’s not the same to get McCain or not vote, vs to get Obama.

An incendiary interview with an incandescent Gore Vidal on Channel 4…to+kill/ 2238447

“I knew JFK, says Gore Vidal, and believe me Obama’s the better leader.”

Howard Zinn
Noam Chomsky
The pragmatic activist view – Danny Glover

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