SCOTT DREYER: Month 1: Rasoul Refuses To Retract Anti-Semitic Post–But Did He Cause Franklin’s Defeat?

As reported here, here and here, Del. Salam Rasoul (D-Roanoke City), who goes by the anglicized nickname “Sam,” on Oct. 17 posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, a post condemning Israel for bombing a hospital and UN school in Gaza. He branded it a “war crime that “Israel (…) will never be accounted for.”

However, within 24 hours, his fellow Democrats including the Biden administration and Virginia’s US Sen. Mark Warner had debunked that theory and explained the rocket was a failed Hamas missile aimed at Israel that fell short in exploded in the hospital parking lot.

The Roanoke Star has reached out to Del. Rasoul several times asking for a statement or explanation of why he is still posting an accusation that has been debunked, but no response has been received.

Rasoul’s controversy has taken a new twist, however, in the aftermath of Virginia’s recent General Assembly elections.

Did Rasoul help help drag his legislative aide and fellow Democrat Lily Franklin down to defeat?

Franklin ran against Republican Chris Obenshain in the newly-created 41st House of Delegates District. The district covers much of rural, GOP-friendly western Roanoke County and eastern Montgomery County. But, it also includes the Tech campus and Blacksburg. Now, since Democrats have legalized Election Day registration, many thought Tech students might hand the Dems a victory there.

Pundits predicted the race would be close, but it ended up being the second-closest race in the Commonwealth, among the 140 General Assembly races. The 41st District represents some 80,000 residents, and Republican Obenshain beat Franklin by a mere 183 votes.

Is Rasoul to blame? (Or from the GOP perspective, to thank?)

This X user who identifies as a “Progressive” made that accusation on Nov. 14, the day after the results were finalized on Nov. 13.

Historically, many Jews have been loyal Democrat supporters. If this tweet is to believed, did Rasoul’s “hateful claim” cause enough Jews not to vote–or to vote for Obenshain–to throw the result?

This is speculation that cannot be proven, but it can’t unproven either. Did Rasoul’s post also motivate some Gentiles who are friends of Jews or Israel not to vote, or to pull the lever for Obenshain?

Also on Oct. 17, Rasoul posted to his X account this tragic news:

Any person with any sense of humanity is grieved at that senseless murder, an innocent six-year-old whose life was ripped away. But notice Rasoul’s comment: “The words of our leaders matter.”

Rasoul’s debunked tweet about the hospital bombing has been viewed 115,000 times. That’s the population of Roanoke City and two Vintons.

To what degree has hate speech against Jews sparked the ugly waves of anti-Semitism we have seen sweeping our nation, from countless college campuses to the very gates of the White House? On Nov. 5, a 50-year old computer science college professor killed a 69-year-old Jewish man, Paul Kessler, in Thousand Oaks, California when he slammed a megaphone into his head causing Kessler to fall and hit his head on the concrete.

Why does Rasoul have no post on X decrying that murder?

Or let’s take the spirit of “charity begins at home.” On Nov. 14, the Williamson Road Business Association had a luncheon where they invited Roanoke City’s new Police Chief, Scott Booth, to introduce himself and explain his strategy to rein-in Roanoke’s record-high murder rate and crime overall.

When asked, Booth claimed 29 people have been murdered in Roanoke City so far in 2023. That is a tragic record for the Star City.

Other than one vague reference to “gun violence” that appeared like a political ad for gun control, Rasoul’s X feed shows no references to the 29 murders that have taken place in the City he claims to represent in Richmond.

Why the silence?

Rasoul made a point to share the name and face of the child tragically killed in Chicago.

Why no names and faces of those killed right here in Roanoke, people who were alive on New Year’s Day 2023 but aren’t here now?

Could it be: those 29 victims don’t fit his narrative?

–Scott Dreyer

Scott Dreyer at Bryce Canyon
Scott Dreyer M.A. of Roanoke has been a licensed teacher since 1987 and now leads a team of educators teaching English and ESL to a global audience. Photo at Utah’s iconic Bryce Canyon. Learn more at


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