Two major Jewish organizations rebuked Abrar Omeish this week, following the embattled school board member’s incendiary anti-Israel rhetoric. On May 13, Omeish wrote that Israel perpetrates “apartheid” and “colonization”; “desecrates the Holy Land” and “kills Palestinians.” To date, Omeish has not retracted her inflammatory words; they can still be viewed on the board member’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) intended to honor Omeish at the organization’s annual meeting, held on May 20. On the eve of that meeting, however, JCRC announced its reversal of that decision:
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 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 a separate tweet, Stop Antisemitism noted that dozens of Jewish families reached out with concerns about Omeish. Stop Antisemitism additionally hailed JCRC’s decision “to put what’s right over what’s popular.”
The Fairfax GOP believes that Omeish should apologize and resign, to allow for healing to begin. “Instead of focusing on core educational issues, Abrar Omeish is busy fomenting hatred and division,” Fairfax GOP Chairman Steve Knotts said on May 15. “Fairfax County deserves better. Omeish should resign or be removed from the school board.”
UPDATE (JUNE 29, 2021): Another major, national Jewish organization has condemned Omeish’s bigotry — and the school district’s failure to defend the rights of Jewish students; read more here.