- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2007

A member of the Virginia Commission on Immigration resigned yesterday after Gov. Tim Kaine learned of videos showing him call upon Americans to end aid to Israel, which he called a “war machine.”

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, learned about the videos showing Dr. Esam Omeish — one of the governor’s commission appointees — during a live radio show in Richmond. He accepted the resignation a few hours later.

“Dr. [Esam] Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me,” Mr. Kaine said. “Dr. Omeish indicated that he did not want this controversy to distract from the important work of the commission.”

In a YouTube video from an August 2006 rally in the District, Dr. Omeish, president of the Muslim American Society, tells a cheering crowd: “The invasion of Lebanon and the destruction of its infrastructure and the deliberate targeting of civilians through the barbaric, indiscriminate, disproportionate Israeli war machine is indeed criminal and must end now.”

The WRVA radio caller who asked Mr. Kaine about the appointment and the video also said Dr. Omeish: “very eloquently calls for the destruction of Israel.”

Mr. Kaine responded: “That’s news to me.”

The decision comes less than a week after the first meeting of the immigration commission, a 20-member panel examining the impact of legal and illegal immigration on the state.

The video also shows Dr. Omeish, a surgeon at Inova Alexandria Hospital, demanding the release of “thousands of civilians” and “thousands of prisoners that are held in the dungeons of Israel,” claiming they we’re kidnapped by Israeli occupying forces.

“Brothers and sisters, Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza all have been and continue to be under the repugnant illegal occupation by Israel,” he said. “The heinous illegal occupation must end today.”

Kaine spokesman Kevin Hall said Dr. Omeish was appointed after the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office vetted an array of nominees.

Apparently, that did not include surfing videos on YouTube, Mr. Hall said.

Dr. Omeish’s resignation also came after Delegate C. Todd Gilbert, Woodstock Republican, warned Mr. Kaine in a letter Wednesday that he should reconsider the appointment.

Mr. Gilbert said the Muslim American Society “is a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood,” and “is a dangerous international organization that seeks to bring about worldwide Islamic government.”

Mr. Gilbert, who said he found the information through a “simple Internet search,” also serves on the commission.

“I was hoping he would do the right thing,” Mr. Gilbert said of the governor. “I am very appreciative of the fact that this appointment was potentially a very dangerous precedent in terms of formulating Virginia public policy with respect to an important issue like immigration.”

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