Alissa Wise, deputy director of the left-wing, anti-Israel organization Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), introduced convicted Palestinian terrorist and “Women’s March” organizer Rasmea Odeh in Chicago on Sunday by blaming her deportation on her inability to receive a fair trial under “racist” Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Odeh’s plea deal, requiring her to leave the country and surrender her American citizenship in exchange for being spared jail time here in the United States, however, stems from a criminal immigration fraud case initiated under President Barack Obama’s Justice Department in 2013. Odeh, who was convicted in 1970 for her involvement in two deadly bomb attacks against Israeli civilians, lied about ten years she spent in Israeli prison for her crimes when she applied to become an American citizen.
“With a racist new Attorney General and another racist in the White House, Rasmea knew she couldn’t get a fair trial,” Wise told the applauding JVP crowd at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency hotel, just a few rooms away from a memorial service being held for the victims of the 1969 supermarket bombing for which Odeh was convicted. No mention was made of the 2014 federal trial, conducted under the Justice Department of Eric Holder, in which a Detroit jury convicted Odeh and the Court sentenced her to eighteen months in prison in addition to being deported and stripped of citizenship.
Odeh and her case, the appeals of which have been filtering through the court system for years while she remained free on bail, came to new national prominence when Odeh took a leading role in organizing the anti-Trump “Women’s Marches” in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The deal she reached is significantly more lenient than the sentence she received for her Obama-era conviction, allowing her to leave the country without time in prison.
Her supporters, who claim her original terrorism conviction resulted from tortured confessions extracted by Israeli authorities, have stood by the charge of racism toward the Sessions Justice Department. “The prospects for a fair trial are slimmer than ever. The prosecution team is now under the regime of racist Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” a fellow Chicago-area Arab activist, Hatem Abudayyeh, wrote in a press release for the “Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network.”
The now ex-citizen Odeh was not, apparently, completely satisfied with the terms of the deal, telling her supporters in JVP that “My heart screams against injustice. I thought when I came to the U.S. and made it my second home, it would be my last station in a journey of struggle.”
Wise seemed undeterred by her comrade’s impending departure from the United States, saying, “We know that, within a short period of time, she’ll have another Arab-Women’s Committee built somewhere. And her legacy of principled resistance to Isreali-U.S. crimes against Palestinians and other oppressed peoples will be ours to keep.”