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Virginia Democrats add anti-Semitism accusation to party’s troubles

February 9, 2019

Ibraheem Samirah, Democrats’ candidate in a special election for a state House seat later this month, apologized Friday for anti-Israel comments from earlier this decade, saying that while he made them, the fact that they are rising now is a “slander campaign.”

Dr. Samirah, who was born in the U.S. but calls himself a “second-generation Palestinian refugee,” said he wrote the offending comments five years ago on Facebook, and says they were the musings of his college mind, which “I sincerely regret and apologize for.”

“I am so sorry that my ill-chosen words added to the pain of the Jewish community and I seek your understanding and compassion as I prove to you our common humanity,” he said in a statement Friday.

He also released a statement from his fraternity at American University, the historically Jewish Sigma Alpha Mu, which said it is “unequivocally false” to call him anti-Semitic.

Dr. Samirah, a dentist, is running against Republican Greg Nelson and independent candidate Connie Haines Hutchinson.

A website cataloged some of Dr. Samirah’s old posts. The writings include him saying it was worse to send money to Israel than to the Ku Klux Klan, and wishing former Israeli Prime Minister would “burn a million times for every innocent soul you killed.”

The flap comes as Virginia Democrats are reeling from rape and racism allegations against the state’s governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, all of them Democrats.

Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring have both admitted to wearing blackface in the 1980s, while Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is denying allegations from two women that he raped them, one while in college and the other a few years later.

The special election Dr. Samirah is battling is for a state House seat left vacant when the former delegate won a state Senate seat.

The House election is slated for Feb. 19.

The district includes areas of western Fairfax County and eastern Loudoun County.

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