President-elect Joe Biden has named Reema Dodin as deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. (Photo via social media)
Reema Dodin, a Palestinian-American, will serve alongside Shuwanza Goff as a deputy director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, President-elect Joe Biden announced on Monday, reported the Jerusalem Post.
Dodin will be the first Palestinian-American to serve as a White House staffer.
The new White House staffer was born to Jordanian-Palestinian immigrants in the US. Dodin’s family is originally from Dura, near AlKhalil, according to Palestinian media.
Dodin served as deputy chief of staff to Democratic Senator Richard Durbin and has also served on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, among other positions.
She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also a Truman National Security Fellow, a New Leaders Council Fellow, an Aspen Socrates alum, a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Jenkins Hill Society – a consortium of women in politics supporting female politicians.
During the Second Intifada, in 2002, Dodin spoke about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with residents of Lodi, California, saying that “suicide bombers were the last resort of a desperate people,” according to the Lodi News-Sentinel.
In 2001, Dodin took part in a demonstration at UC Berkeley calling for the university to divest from Israel, according to the Berkeley Daily Planet, a local news publication. The demonstrators compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.
Reema is also the granddaughter of Mustafa Dodin, who was the social affairs minister in Jordan and later helped establish the Village Leagues in the West Bank in the 1970s, according to Al-Arabiya. The Village Leagues were established in order to lead to peace negotiations with Israel, according to MEMRI. Mustafa was described as a moderate alternative to the PLO.
In an interview with The Christian Science Monitor in 1981, Dodin insisted on self-determination for Palestinians, but added that Jews and Arabs “must live together and no political solution can cancel this.”
"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 Biden-Harris transition team said in an emailed statement to The Jerusalem Post.
"She harnessed her activism into action, becoming a well-respected and trusted leader in the US 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."