Sam Rasoul and Jewish Democrats in the General Assembly – An Uneasy Alliance

James C. Sherlock

Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, speaks at a pro-Palestinian rally in Roanoke. 
Credit: David Hungate, The Roanoke Times

Salam “Sam” Rasoul is a Democrat delegate from Roanoke.

He still publicly blames Israel for an explosion at a Gaza hospital that the western world’s intelligence services have blamed on an errant Hamas rocket.

Even The New York Times changed its story after jumping the gun on that report.

At the rally (pictured), The Roanoke Times reported:

Rasoul, a Palestinian … used his speech to call for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and for the U.S. to stop funding Israel’s war effort.

Apparently he did not consider that wearing his team’s colors in a war might not be well received by some in his party.

He will find that his words and actions will cause, at best, discomfort within his caucus in January.

Rasoul and CAIR.  The Washington Post pointed out that Rasoul’s 2021 race for Lt. Governor was heavily financed by out-of-state Muslim advocacy groups, including $70,000 from the Secretary of the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR).

CAIR was founded as the result of an FBI-monitored meeting in Philadelphia in 1993.  According to a subsequent federal indictment that resulted in criminal convictions:

The purpose of the meeting was to determine their course of action in support of Hamas’ opposition to the peace plan and to decide how to conceal their activities from the scrutiny of the United States government.

Influence Watch has a particularly harsh view of the organization.  As did Northern Virginia Republican Frank Wolf in the Congressional Record in 2009.

CAIR is simply and straightforwardly a Hamas mouthpiece.

Bottom line.  Del. Rasoul’s positions are certainly his right, though the facts on the hospital explosion are not on his side since the evidence was gathered and assessed.

A cease-fire benefits Hamas, not civilians, since Israel has established the humanitarian corridors and Hamas has prevented them from leaving. Palestinians are hostages.

If Rasoul has any thoughts on the Israeli and American hostages, he has apparently kept them to himself.

There are no campaign finance limits in Virginia, so there is nothing to violate.

Del. Rasoul can disagree with the FBI on the nature of CAIR.  For $70,000, a huge amount of money from an out-of-state organization for a Lt. Governor primary (he lost), I suspect he does.

But while senior Democrats Eileen Filler-Corn and Mark Levine are gone from the General Assembly, he still has to caucus with Delegates Dan Helmer, Kathy KL Tran and newly-elected Amy Laufer.  All are Jewish.

There is inevitably going to be tension.  For a very long time.

Rasoul has courted it.