Group Hosting Convicted Terrorist at Conference Instructs Hyatt to Deny Access to Memorial for Her Victims, Israel Activist Says
A group hosting a Palestinian terrorist at its national convention demanded that the Chicago hotel where the event is taking place deny access to Israel activists wishing to rent space in which to hold a memorial service for her victims, a person involved told The Algemeiner.
According to Peggy Shapiro, the midwest director for educational group Stand With Us (SWU), the left-wing organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) — whose National Member Meeting will kick off at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place next week and features a speech by convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh — was given “the right of first refusal” by the hotel to determine whether SWU may reserve a small room during the same weekend for an interfaith program in memory of Odeh’s victims.
The Hyatt’s event sales manager, Audrey Quevillon, sent SWU an email Monday — obtained by The Algemeiner — stating that JVP had “made the decision to deny any space request coming in over their conference as they will be utilizing all space for their meetings and functions.” According to an online reservation schedule, at least one other organization will be holding an event at the 2.6 million sq. ft. McCormick Place during the time of JVP’s conference.
Shapiro said “the hotel had not indicated that any other group had to give permission for us to use space, only JVP,” and expressed confusion with a “hotel’s decision to refuse income.”
“Regardless of how this issue pans out, we will be doing something, somewhere to keep the memory of victims Leon Kaner and Edward Joffe alive during the JVP conference. Odeh made sure that they are voiceless, and JVP wants to perpetuate their voicelessness,” Shapiro said. “We are their voices. We will stand up for them, and we are giving the Hyatt an opportunity to do the right thing here.”
In 1970, Odeh was sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli military court for her membership in the terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and for confessing to involvement in two 1969 Jerusalem bombings. The first attack, on a supermarket, killed Kaner and Joffe, both Hebrew University students, and wounded nine others. The second bombing, which occurred four days later, targeted the British Consulate. Odeh was released after 10 years in prison as part of a prisoner swap with the PFLP in 1980.
Odeh then moved to the US, where she was indicted in 2013 for immigration fraud, after she concealed her terror conviction on her naturalization forms. She was found guilty, but her lawyers filed an appeal, claiming her 1970 confession was obtained through torture. A new trial has been scheduled for May 30.
Neither JVP nor the Hyatt immediately responded to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.