Fairfax County Public Schools board member states “no justice, no peace” and calls Israel an “apartheid regime” after a moment of silence is held at meeting


At a meeting on October 12, 2023, the school board of Fairfax County Public Schools held a moment of silence for terrorist attacks that Hamas committed against Israel. Before the moment of silence, board member Laura Jane Cohen stated that members of the board stand with those impacted by the war and that antisemitism is not tolerated in the district’s schools. [Time Stamp: 7:20] However, after the moment of silence occurred in response to Laura Jane Cohen’s remarks, board member Abrar Omeish called Cohen’s remarks a “sneak attack.” The incident was first reported on X by the Fairfax County Parents Association. Despite calling the moment of silence a “sneak attack,” Omeish appeared to be ready with prepared remarks. Omeish then stated:

Many are thinking about the incredible devastation and human suffering unfolding today in Israel and Palestine. And we mourn the lost of hundreds of innocent civilians killed and homes destroyed this week alone and the thousands over the decades, all of whom should have been prevented. It might seem simple – aggressors attacking families in a state seeking vengeance. But we often sympathize with and humanize the side we relate to and the side that looks more like us or that our biases guide us towards. But doing so obscures the root of the violence. [Time Stamp: 10:35]

Abrar Omeish’s comments continued to escalate until she stated “no justice, no peace” and called Israel an “apartheid regime.” She said:

As the old civil rights adage goes, no justice, no peace. When we are unwilling to call out what global human rights organizations have called an apartheid regime of occupation that has been violating international agreements year after year and killing thousands of innocent civilians over decades, we are lying to our children. When we don’t give space to hear the Palestinian narrative, we buy into a rhetoric that negates not only the humanness of Palestinians but justifies the indiscriminate retaliation against the population. [Time Stamp: 11:30]