Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish sparks criticism, blasting Israel for ‘Apartheid & colonization’


On Thursday, May 13, Fairfax County School Board member Abrar Omeish posted a message on her Facebook page, wishing Muslims greetings for the religious holiday of Eid and adding, “Hurts my heart to celebrate while Israel kills Palestinians & desecrates the Holy Land right now. Apartheid & colonization were wrong yesterday and will be today, here and there.”

Omeish, who uses the Facebook page to promote her official school board businesses, added “May justice + truth prevail.”

Several Fairfax County parents alerted Parents Defending Education to the post, saying that it caused concern about anti-Semitic sentiments by the board member, especially as the county considers a new “Anti-Racism, Anti-Bias Curriculum Policy.”

One parent wrote: “This post, in conjunction with the school district’s plans to review its Controversial Issues Policy, is troubling. Aren’t school board members supposed to be neutral? Her post was from a Facebook profile that she uses to campaign and share FCPS business. I’m so worried that the school’s plan to revise the Controversial Issues Policy and to introduce CRT will result in a school environment where our kids will be constantly pressured to take sides on controversial issues. I don’t want teachers or school leadership telling my kids what to think or telling kids that they have to ‘take a stand’ or they will be perceived as racist or a white supremacist.”

Another parent wrote on Omeish’s post: “You can celebrate your religious holidays and faith without the racist opinions, especially on your public campaign/School Board FBPage. You just alienated all of your Jewish constituents and children in FCPS.”

On Twitter, a user asked: “Is this the kind of anti racism training that can be expected from @fcpsnews?”

The Facebook post was also met with concern by other Fairfax County School Board members, including Melanie Meren, who replied to the message on Twitter, writing, “As a SB Member, I’m aghast at the alienation your sentiment has cast on many in our community, including myself, & am appalled at the setback this puts in @fcpsnews’ equity work. Rebuilding of relationships will need to happen.”

In 2007, Omeish’s father, Esam Omeish, emerged as a controversial figure who resigned from his position on the Virginia Commission on Immigration after his anti-Israel views raised concerns. The Washington Post wrote, “A prominent Northern Virginia surgeon and Muslim activist appointed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to a state immigration commission was forced to resign Thursday after videos surfaced of him referring to the ‘Israeli war machine’ as well as statements he made seven years ago in support of the ‘jihad way’ in the Middle East.”

In response to the criticism, the younger Omeish returned to her Facebook page to write: “War is terrible for everyone. I hear those hurting. I continue to be here for each of you.People of all faiths deserve Holy Land peace. All forms of hate are unacceptable. Ensuring justice & honoring the humanity of everyone remains as urgent as ever.I look ahead to robust & empathetic engagement with Jewish leaders and all allies. Let’s build together.”

Local Fairfax County residents responded to the anti-Israel post by rallying residents to sign a recall petition to unseat Omeish.