The Joe Biden campaign privately apologised to Arab and Muslim activists for publicly distancing itself from Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, a report said on Sunday. Sarsour's appearance at a Democratic National Convention (DNC) meeting last week created controversy among Conservatives prompting the campaign spokesman to clarify that Biden did not endorse her views.
Ashley Allison, the national coalitions director for the Biden campaign, made the private call on Sunday with several Arab and Muslim activists and said she felt their "pain" after the campaign sidelined Sarsour, reported Middle East Eye, which obtained the call recording. She also said she was "sorry" for the Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates' comments against the activist.
"I am sorry that that happened. 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," Allison reportedly told the activists.
Apart from Allison, the Biden campaign's foreign policy advisor Antony Blinken expressed "regret" over the Sarsour matter in a virtual meeting, the report added.
Last Tuesday, Sarsour appeared at the DNC's online meeting for Muslim Delegates and Allies Assembly. Her participation in the meeting angered Conservatives who alleged the Democratic Party supported Sarsour and her anti-Semitic views.
While Sarsour is hailed among the progressive Arab and Muslim community, she has been criticized for advocating the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Critics have labelled BDS an anti-Semitic movement that questioned Israel's legitimacy. Some critics even likened the movement to the Nazi boycott of business run by Jews.
The Palestinian-American activist has also supported Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian activist who was convicted in Israel of killing two university students in a 1969 terrorist attack and of planning an attack on the British Consulate. In 2015, Odeh was stripped of her U.S. citizenship after failing to disclose her background.
Following the outrage, Bates issued a statement saying Biden was a "strong supporter" of Israel and condemned Sarsour's support for the BDS movement. Another Democratic Party official clarified that the meeting which Sarsour participated was not run by the DNC or the Biden campaign.