Drama at the Jamestown 400th
There was little interest in the Jamestown 400th anniversary of the first democratic legislature in the colonies outside Virginia until President Trump accepted Governor Ralph Northam's formal invitation to attend. His acceptance inspired protests by the usual Trump-haters and led to a boycott by Virginia's version of the Congressional Black Caucus and Richmond mayor Levar Stony (D).
Since the appearance of Northam's alleged blackface photo and his open support for post-birth abortions, the governor has kept a low profile. However, he did show up at Jamestown to speak but conveniently had to depart for another scheduled event before Trump arrived. In contrast, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax (D), who has been plagued by credible charges of rape by two black women, stayed for the whole show. Perhaps he hoped to save his political future.
The internal political chaos surrounding this otherwise benign event was intensified by Virginia's highly respected former governor, Doug Wilder (D), famous as the first elected black governor in the U.S. (1990–94). He was an invitee and also claimed he was asked to be part of the 400th anniversary planning board. Mysteriously, he was never notified to attend any board meetings. Perhaps the apparent snub was only a coincidence, but it did follow the news of alleged charges of sexual impropriety involving a young woman in his employ. Wilder also declined the invitation.
Overall, the only significant highlight, other than the few outside protesters, came from a new Virginia delegate from very liberal Fairfax County. Delegate Ibraheem Samirah (D) had been on the job only five days after winning a special election. His 15 seconds of national fame came when he shouted out at Trump, "You can't send us back, Virginia is our home" and held up a sign reading, "Reunite my family." It was an embarrassment to the organizers, and to no one's surprise, the incident made headlines. Usually the coverage included scant information other than that he is a Palestinian-American dentist. In general, most reports appeared restrained, and the Republican shout-out at an Obama State of the Union was a common comparison.
The more complete story of Del. Samirah is a bit more concerning. A July 31, 2019 article in the Federalist by Kyle Shideler titled "Democrat Lawmaker with Ties to Hamas Front Group Disrupts Trump Speech" provided some actual investigative reporting.
Samirah's father, Sabri Samriah, is a Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood leader who was banned from the United States for national security reasons under President George W. Bush but eventually won a lawsuit to be allowed to return under President Obama in 2010.
The elder Samirah, who resided in the United States illegally as a visa overstay, served as chairman of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). "…the federal government successfully argued in court that IAP existed to support the terrorist group Hamas with "propaganda and information. ...
[I]ts leaders were convicted of financing the terrorist group Hamas. …Ibraheem Samirah posted a petition he had signed calling for the HLF defendants to be pardoned and described their fundraising as "not a crime."
Obviously, the son shares his father's politics. In 2018, Ibraheem addressed the national convention of the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a leading organization for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and also has connections to the Squad.
Samirah has close ties to Rashida Tlaib and claims he "took charge" of the Michigan congresswoman's get out the vote efforts. Like Tlaib and Omar, Samirah comes from a wing within the Democratic Party that has increasingly endorsed once fringe positions such as support for BDS.
My fear is that with new state delegates like Samirah plus the damaging gerrymandering changes to formerly reliable GOP districts, Virginia is on its way to becoming a solid blue state like Maryland. Northern VA is also heavily populated by progressive D.C. Beltway bandits.