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!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • 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.