“The suicide bombers were the last resort of a desperate people,” Reema Dodin said while speaking at a church in Lodi, Calif., according to the Lodi News-Sentinel.
She was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, at the time.
“The American public has a history of being a fair-minded people, but the information the public is getting is biased, awful and wrong,” Dodin said according to the Lodi News-Sentinel. “If you’re going to present this information to the public, you need to do it in a holistic manner.”
Articles from The Daily Californian and The Berkeley Daily Planet link Dodin to demonstrations in support of Palestinians, including the occupation of a university building to demand the University of California divest from Israel in 2000. Thirty suicide bombings killed 195 people in Jerusalem between October 2000 and October 2005, according to the International Crisis Group.
“They say they want peace, but it’s a peace based on their rules,” Dodin, who was identified as a demonstrator, said in response to a counter-demonstration by the Israeli Action Coalition, according to The Berkeley Daily Planet.
Thirty-two demonstrators were arrested at the demonstration, The Berkeley Daily Planet reported.
Dodin was born in North Carolina to Palestinian immigrant parents, according to the Lodi News-Sentinel.
Dodin is a volunteer for Biden’s transition team and serves as deputy chief of staff for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. She also volunteered for the Obama campaign.
“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,” a Biden-Harris transition official said in a statement to Fox News. “She harnessed her activism into action, becoming a well-respected and trusted leader in the U.S. Senate.”
The loss of Dodin as a staffer is “the President-elect’s and the nation’s gain,” Durbin said in a statement.
“Reema began as a law school intern in my office fourteen years ago and progressed to become one of the most respected staffers on the Hill,” Durbin said in a statement. “She is smart, trusted, and has the respect of members and staff on both sides of the aisle. In short, Reema is just what our new President needs to help him in the Senate.”
Meanwhile, New York Times contributing opinion writer Wajahat Ali declared anyone who dredges up Dodin’s college quotes “hatemongers.”
“And like clockwork, bad-faith actors and hatemongers, like Pam Geller, are taking a 20-year-old quote out of context to attack Reema Dodin, part of Biden’s White House team, who’s a respected professional with a brilliant, sterling career. Her crime? Being Muslim [and] Palestinian,” Ali wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
Dodin’s selection comes after Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., caused confusion by bringing up Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions after Biden announced Tony Blinken, who is Jewish, as his pick for secretary of state.
Tlaib used the news to blast Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent statement that the U.S. is “committed to countering the Global BDS Campaign as a manifestation of anti-Semitism.”
“So long as [Blinken] doesn’t suppress my First Amendment right to speak out against Netanyahu’s racist and inhumane policies,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter. “The Palestinian people deserve equality and justice.”