Image Credit: YouTube/Fairfax County Public Schools
“There Is No Chance I Am Resigning,” Abrar Omeish Tells AJ+
In a recent interview with AJ+, embattled school board member Abrar Omeish “doubled down” on her anti-Israel screeds, which many have characterized as hateful and needlessly divisive, if not deeply anti-Semitic, in nature. “There is no chance I am resigning,” Omeish defiantly told AJ+, which is owned by Al Jazeera and funded by the government of Qatar.
Omeish created a firestorm of controversy by accusing Israel of “apartheid” and “colonization.” She also claimed the Jewish nation-state “desecrates the Holy Land” and “kills Palestinians.” Her comments were made after Hamas indiscriminately fired thousands of rockets into Israeli population centers. Notably, she offered no condemnation — or even criticism — of the Hamas terrorists.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) intended to honor Omeish for “interfaith work” at its annual gala, AJ+ noted. The honor was rescinded after JCRC leaders first tried talking with Omeish about her incendiary anti-Israel rhetoric:
During conversations between JCRC representatives and Ms. Omeish after the Tweet was posted, the JCRC conveyed the hurt experienced by the Jewish community and offered Ms. Omeish an opportunity to meaningfully amend her remarks. Unfortunately, she has continued to stoke the flames of division and acrimony: She has not taken down her tweet, she has not taken affirmative steps to try to stem the vitriolic, hateful rhetoric on social media triggered by her remarks, and she seems uninterested in being a voice for authentic empathy, grace, and healing.
JCRC leaders stressed how they took “no pleasure” in their decision. “We cannot in good conscience offer this celebratory award that would have recognized and elevated months of work and partnership because she has spent the last week tearing those efforts down,” they lamented (read the full statement here).
In her AJ+ interview, Omeish responded dismissively to her critics. “It was appalling to me that all of that solidarity and the work that we’d done together meant absolutely nothing in the face of one tweet,” she told the Qatar-funded outlet.
Fairfax GOP Chairman Steve Knotts reiterated his call for Omeish’s resignation today. “Omeish likes to use the word ’empathy’ — but we’ve seen precious little of that quality from her,” Knotts said. “Instead, Omeish has only doubled down on her bigotry. She has learned nothing. It is time for my counterpart in the Fairfax County Democratic Committee to do the right thing and demand that Omeish resign or be removed from the school board.”