In his remarks at the AAI conference this past weekend, Governor Martin O'Malley briefly commented on the ongoing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. He said, "like everyone here, I have been deeply concerned about the recent developments in Jerusalem and cities across Israel and the West Bank," and then cited the numbers of Israeli and Palestinian casualties. He described all those affected as "brothers and sisters, and all of them leave behind bereaved families with holes in their hearts." His statement neither assigned guilt nor blame, but rather focused on the human toll of the violence and he called for all parties to resume negotiations. It's difficult to find fault in his statements, no matter your politics on the issue. Still, Jeffrey Goldberg took to twitter to claim that Gov. O'Malley is "evidently not going after the Jewish vote," with the retrograde implication that reaching out to the Arab American community should preclude a candidate from receiving support from American Jews. It goes without saying that this is unacceptable, and we're glad there has been pushback in the media. Peter Beinart said that "recognizing that Palestinians are dying too…shouldn't be controversial." There should be nothing radical about a Presidential candidate speaking to the Arab American community or recognizing that "Palestinian lives matter too." AAI was founded in 1985 to respond to exactly this exclusionary approach that dissuaded politicians from reaching out to Arab American voters. The Arab American community has come a long way, but episodes like this one where controversy is wrung out of benign remarks, reveal that there is still much work yet to be done to end the politics of exclusion. The more than 200 Arab Americans from 17 states who gathered in Dearborn to hear Governor O’Malley (and other presidential candidates) are organizing our vote and demonstrating that this stuff won’t go unchallenged anymore.