The Zionist Organization of America is demanding Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden retract his campaign's apology to Arab and Muslim advocates for remarks by a spokesman who last week condemned activist Linda Sarsour.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein on Monday excoriated Biden National Coalitions Director Ashley Allison, foreign policy adviser Tony Blinken and campaign adviser Symone Sanders for a teleconference call Sunday to express "regret" for campaign spokesman Andrew Bates' comments regarding Sarsour.
"VP Joe Biden should be apologizing to the Jewish community – not to Islamic radicals," Klein said on ZOA's website. "VP Biden has still failed to apologize for appearing alongside Jew-haters and virulent Israel-bashers Linda Sarsour, [Rep.] Ilhan Omar, MPAC's [Muslim Public Affairs Council] Salam Al-Marayati and CAIR's [Council on American-Islamic Relations] Nihad Awad at the 'Million Muslim Votes Summit' in July."
Bates denounced Sarsour, an organizer of the 2016 "Women's March" and known for comments some have called anti-Semitic, last week after she appeared at a "Muslim Delegates and Allies Assembly" during the Democratic National Convention. Bates distanced the Biden campaign from Sarsour's appearance, saying it was a Democratic National Committee event, and decried the controversial activist.
"Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS [Boycott, Divest, Sanctions against Israel], as does the Democratic platform," Bates said in a statement, adding, "She has no role in the campaign whatsoever."
But Sarsour and others took exception to Bates' remarks prompting Sunday's teleconference call in which Allison said she was sorry for the "pain" the disavowing caused, according to Middle East Eye, who obtained a recording of the call.
"I am sorry that that happened," she reportedly said. "And I hope that whatever trust was broken, that this conversation is one small step to help build back the trust, but that is not the last time we have this conversation."
Blinken expressed "regret" over the "hurt and disappointment" Bates' comments caused, and Sanders called them an "egregious misstep."
Sarsour, who had endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during the primary, has been criticized for her refusal to condemn Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and remarks Israel is built on ethnic "supremacy" among other things.
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