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Palestinian-American Democrat under fire for comparing Israel to KKK Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Palestinian-American Democrat under fire for comparing Israel to KKK

Ibraheem Samirah (R) in his campaign photos [@IbraheemSamirah/Twitter]

Date of publication: 19 February, 2019

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Virginia House of Delegates hopeful, Ibraheem Samirah, has apologised after "slander campaign" against him revealed social media posts deemed to be "ant-Semitic".

A US Democratic Party candidate has apologised on Tuesday after coming under fire for social media posts deemed "anti-Semitic" by political opponents.

But Ibraheem Samirah, a second generation Palestinian refugee from Chicago hoping to be elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates, the state's legislature, said he has "become the target of a slander campaign".

"This slander campaign is using five-year-old Facebook posts from my impassioned college days, posts that upon my reflection and with the blessing of time, I sincerely regret and apologise for," Samirah said in a statement on Friday.

His critics zeroed in on a 2014 Facebook post in which he shared an angry letter by musician pro-BDS Brian Eno about Palestinian deaths in Gaza, which said funding Israel was like supporting the Ku Klux Klan.

"I’d say worse, but I’ll go along with Eno on this one," Samirah wrote above it.

"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. Please do not let those who seek to divide us use these words out of context of time and place to accomplish their hateful goals."

In a different post from the same year, Samirah said former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon should burn in hell and wished the same for "our beloved Arab 'leaders' (butchers I should say)".

Samirah is hoping to win a special election for a vacated seat in Virginia. The conservative website Big League Politics first digged up his remarks, which have since been picked up by Israeli media.

Fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar was also forced to apologise after accusations of anti-Semitism earlier this month. The Somali-American Muslim Congresswomen was criticised by Democrats and Republicans for tweets identifying AIPAC as an Israeli lobby group which funded political candidates in exchange for influence.

Omar "unequivocally apologised", but did not back down on AIPAC, reaffirming "the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA, or the fossil fuel industry".

To this end, Tlaib and Omar have already established themselves as moral leaders in their party, championing universal human rights, and equality for the Palestinian people.

"The whole business appears to be another sad instance of Washington refusing to have anywhere close to an honest conversation about Israel," Wilson Dizard wrote in his comment piece for The New Arab.

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