Obama Campaign Taps New Arab Outreach Director

By Marc Perelman

Published August 25, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A few weeks after Barack Obama’s first Arab-American outreach person resigned amid controversy over past connections to an imam, the campaign has tapped attorney Rashida Tlaib to be its outreach director in Michigan, where Tlaib just won a state primary, the Forward has learned.

Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman, confirmed the appointment for a state where Arab-Americans are a substantial voting block.

The appointment came days after the 30-year-old Tlaib, who is the oldest of 13 siblings from a family of Palestinian descent and the senior aide to the Michigan House majority leader, beat eight candidates in the Democratic primary to represent southwest Detroit’s 12th district in the state house.

The district, which borders the largest concentrated Arab community in the United States, is a majority-Latino neighborhood, but Tlaib beat all other candidates with 44% of the votes. Tlaib has been criticized for her affiliation with, and her work for, the Dearborn-based Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, known as Access, where she is listed as a board member and worked as an advocacy coordinator.

Conservatives have criticized Access for hosting not only Israel divestment conferences but also such controversial Palestinian militants as Sami Al-Arian, a former Florida professor. The 35-year-old group, however, has never been indicted in courts in the United States, and last year Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed its founder, Ismael Ahmed, director of Michigan’s Department of Human Services.

Tlaib could not be reached for comment.






Find us on Facebook!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.