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!
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • 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.