Rasmea Odeh’s Exit, Stage Left
Convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh received a standing ovation this weekend in Chicago from an enthusiastic crowd at the national conference of the organization Jewish Voice for Peace.
Luckily for Odeh — who took part in the bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969, which killed Hebrew University students Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe — the Jewish state she and her radical leftist buddies in the US Jewish community would see eradicated let her out of jail as part of a prisoner exchange. Still, she has expressed no gratitude to the liberal society that set her free in 1980, or to the one that has enabled her since then to roam around freely, spewing her vitriol and inciting violence. On the contrary, the proud member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who feels no remorse for the innocent boys she killed, also defied the country that took her in as in immigrant – concealing her terrorist past in order to enter the United States.
Not only that. Last month, Odeh’s three-year battle with the US government, which was sparked by her being convicted of immigration fraud, came to a happy end with a plea bargain according to which she would be stripped of her American citizenship and deported, but serve no jail time.
The Rasmea Defense Committee, a vocal group of avid supporters, had the nerve to respond to this piece of luck and ill-deserved generosity by saying that her decision to accept the deal was difficult, but it was the best she could hope for under the “current racist political climate” of President Donald Trump, in which her “prospects for a fair trial are slimmer than ever.”
It is bad enough that Odeh only spent 10 years in an Israeli prison. Worse still that she is getting off the hook for her subsequent crime. But the fact that she has been elevated to some kind of sainthood, lauded by feminist, black and other self-described human rights activists is as shocking as it is shameful.
To add insult to injury, Jewish Voice for Peace pressured the management of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the venue rented for the hate-filled conference, not to allow a pro-Israel group to rent a separate room in which to hold a memorial service for Odeh’s victims. This is a classic case of what renowned law professor Alan Dershowitz calls “free speech for me and not for thee.”
Yes, as long as Jewish Voice for Peace and its non-Jewish counterparts — such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Black Lives Matter, which use it as a cover for their antisemitism – have the microphone, anything goes. Even glorifying cold-blooded murder. But when an organization like StandWithUs wants to present an opposing viewpoint, any underhanded tactics to prevent it from doing so are kosher.
Ultimately, StandWithUs prevailed and conducted a vigil for Kanner and Joffe during the conference, albeit in a different building of the Hyatt complex. But it was a quiet ceremony, unlike that of Jewish Voice for Peace, which cheered Odeh when she said, “We need you to continue resisting Trump’s agenda and to continue challenging the Zionists and to continue providing your solidarity and support to the Palestinian and Arab national movement.”
Odeh, who was 21 when she played a key role in the terrorist attack, failed to mention that if not for Israeli policy, she would have spent the rest of her life behind bars. Instead, she has been a liberated woman since the age of 32. The now 69-year-old also left out the fact that the U.S. justice system – yes, in Trump’s America – can take credit for her ability to trade jail for Jordan, where she will undoubtedly be hailed as a heroine.
Good riddance, Rasmea; too bad you can’t take your sycophants with you. But, as you surely know, Jordanian law forbids Jews from becoming citizens.
Ruthie Blum is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.