As a college student in 2002, Reema Dodin justified suicide bombings “as a last resort of a desperate people.”
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
President-elect Joe Biden announced this week the first-ever appointment of a White House staffer of Palestinian origin. Reema Dodin will be a deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, the department responsible for advancing the president’s legislative agenda on Capitol Hill.
Dodin is the daughter of a Palestinian-Jordanian couple who moved to the United States before she was born. As a student in the University of California, Berkeley, in 2002, she gave a talk on the Second Intifada that was at its height at the time. The Palestinians were blowing themselves up on buses, at cafes, and on crowded streets in Israel in a wave of attacks that from 2000-2005 took the lives of more than a thousand Israelis and injured several thousand more.
Speaking in Lodi, a town some 75 miles from the university, Dodin justified the terrorism, saying, “The suicide bombers were the last resort of a desperate people.”
According to the Berkeley Daily Planet, a local paper, Dodin also demonstrated in her school against Israel the year before, demanding that the university divest from the country the protestors called an “apartheid state.”
While saying that she has “grown” since then, the Biden-Harris transition team did not specifically address her anti-Israel comments in an emailed statement to The Jerusalem Post.
“Reema is the first to tell you she has grown from her youth in her approach to pushing for change, but her core values of fighting to expand opportunity to building a stronger middle class remain her driving force,” the statement said. “She harnessed her activism into action, becoming a well-respected and trusted leader in the U.S. Senate. Her years of Senate experience and perspective will help President-elect Biden and Vice President Harris respond to our nation’s most urgent challenges.”
‘A success for every Palestinian’
The Turkish Anadolu news agency quoted her uncle Ahmed Dodin, who lives in a village near Hebron, as saying that his niece is a frequent visitor and the family saw her appointment as “a success for every Palestinian.”
“She is the daughter of Palestine and her origins are Palestinian,” he said, adding that he hoped the “post will be good for her and her mother country.”
Dodin currently serves as deputy chief of staff to Richard Durbin, the senior senator of Illinois who is the Democratic Whip, the second-highest position in the party’s leadership in the Senate. She is also volunteering on Biden’s transition team to prepare his Cabinet picks for their expected confirmation fights in the Senate.
If the Republicans win at least one of the two January run-off elections for senator in Georgia, they will maintain their outright majority in the Senate. This would allow them to block Cabinet appointments as well as scuttle laws that Biden promised to pass in his election campaign.