A member of staff for U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has apologized for the campaign's disavowal of anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, the Middle East Eye news outlet has reported.
According to the report, the apology was issued in an off-the-record phone call with Arab and Muslim Democratic activists that Sarsour was not part of.
The Biden campaign said in response that the apology was for the manner in which the matter was handled, not for the decision to disavow Sarsour, which still stands.
Middle East eye, which says it has been able to acquire a recording of the conversation, cites Ashley Allison, national coalitions director for the Biden camp, as expressing "regret" over the incident.
"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," she said, according to the Middle East Eye.
Anthony Blinken, a senior foreign policy aide for Biden also reportedly offered his apologies.
But senior Biden advisor Symone Sanders said of the conversation: "We met to affirm Vice President Biden's unshakeable commitment to working with Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim Americans and to standing up against anti-Muslim prejudice, and to make clear that we regretted any hurt that was caused to these communities. We continue to reject the views that Linda Sarsour has expressed."
Last Tuesday, Sarsour, who backed Senator Bernie Sanders for president, spoke at the Muslim Delegates Assembly of the four-day Democratic National Convention. In her speech, she said that while there was room for improvement in the Democratic party, "it is absolutely our party in this moment."
Her appearance at the DNC sparked controversy and the Biden campaign quickly disavowed Sarsour, a move that drew the ire of Arab and Muslim advocates.
According to CNN, Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said: “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, as does the Democratic platform.”
Bates added: “She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever.”
The spokesman also highlighted the Democratic platform statement that says: “We oppose any effort to unfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.”
Sarsour has sparked outrage over her comments on Israel and Jews, saying last year about progressive Zionists: “Ask them this, how can you be against white supremacy in America and the idea of being in a state based on race and class, but then you support a state like Israel that is based on supremacy, that is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else.”
Sarsour later said that she was referring to Israel's controversial Nation-State Law, which defines the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.
Her comments drew widespread condemnation, including from the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, who wrote on Twitter that Sarsour "slanders the founders of Israel as supremacists, invoking a centuries-old anti-Semitic trope when she describes them as having believed that Jews are ‘supreme to everybody else.'”
Sarsour has also actively worked to oppose any peace initiative between any Muslim bodies and Israel, while publicly praising Palestinian terrorists carrying attacks within Israeli territory.
In 2017, when the Shalom Hartman Institute initiated a collaboration with Muslim American activists, Sarsour signed a petition opposing the initiative as part of her opposition to any kind of cooperation with bodies seeking peace and normalization with Israel.
Due to her views, Sarsour also quit her leadership position for the Women’s March political movement, after one of the group’s founders accused her of helping to make anti-Semitism “part of the platform.”
This article was amended to include the response of the Biden campaign