The Islamists and their interfaith friends are taking up the case of Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, a woman that lied on her immigration papers about having been convicted by Israel of perpetrating a terrorist bombing that killed two people. Predictably, the coalition is claiming she’s a victim of an anti-Muslim campaign by the U.S. government.
Odeh was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group supported by the Assad regime in Syria that the U.S. government officially considers to be a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The State Department says its terrorist attacks include airline hijackings that killed a total of 20 Americans. The PFLP continues to hatch terror plots, though none succeeded last year. The group confirms that it gets training from Hezbollah.
Odeh, who is now 66 years old, was involved in the bombing of a grocery store in Jerusalem in 1969 that killed two Israeli students. She was also involved in two other bombings targeting the British consulate. She was convicted, spent 10 years in prison and then released as part of a prisoner swap.
She moved to the U.S. in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in Michigan in 2004. She was indicted in October 2013 for immigration fraud.
“In her immigration documents filed in the United States, the indictment alleges, Odeh omitted her arrest, conviction and imprisonment overseas, which were material facts for the United States government in determining whether to grant her citizenship, the FBI press release states.
The leaders of behind Odeh’s defense ahead of her June 10 trial boast that over 100 organizations have joined in and over 3,000 people have signed an International Action Center petition. The document says it was started by a group named the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The MoveOn.org petition, which leaves out any mention of her membership in PFLP or conviction, has about 900 signatures.
The Islamists are trying to make Odeh a pop culture icon in their community by selling “I Support Rasmea” shirts. The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and American Muslims for Palestine are among those selling the shirts and portraying her as an innocent victim. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is also a supporter of Odeh’s.
American Muslims for Palestine even honored Odeh at a recent fundraiser. CAIR-Chicago held an event on May 19 titled, “Criminalizing Immigrants: The Case of Rasmea Odeh.” It described her as a victim of “selective prosecution of key activists in the Palestinian and anti-war solidarity communities.”
The U.S. Palestinian Community Network (which is run by Odeh’s boss) and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression are using the case to push a broader message. A joint statement reads, “[We] denounce this attempt at harassment and intimidation, and call on all organizers and activists around the country to remember: Don’t talk to the FBI!” [emphasis original]
The pro-Odeh coalition led by the U.S. Palestinian community Network and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression includes a number of non-Muslim religious groups and activists.
Father Robert Bossie is a Catholic priest and political activist. In a published letter, he describes bringing Catholics studying for ministry to the Arab American Action Network (where Odeh is Associate Director) to learn about the Middle East conflict.
Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago has also published a letter saying her indictment “must be viewed within this wider context of widespread attempts to intimidate people into silence. It is also an illustration of our unwarranted and draconian enforcement of our immigration laws.”
A Quaker group called the American Friends Service Committee (Chicago) claims her indictment is “further evidence of government harassment of Arab and Muslim residents in the United States, and adds fuel to Islamophobic and anti-Arab discrimination that has spread throughout our country and influenced our nation’s policy since 9/11.”
Another member of the coalition is the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, an interfaith alliance. Its members include the Mennonite Palestine Israel Network in Iowa and the Interfaith Community for Palestinian Rights based in Texas.
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation also has a faith-based wing called the Interfaith Boycott Coalition that includes Jewish Voice for Peace, the Presbyterian Church USA’s Israel-Palestine Mission Network, the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine-Israel Network, United Church of Christ Palestine-Israel Network and Response, the United Methodist Kairos Response and others.
These Christian and Jewish organizations are being won over by false Islamist propaganda that the U.S. government has a hidden anti-Muslim agenda. They have teamed up with a group that tells Americans not to talk to the FBI in order to defend a Palestinian terrorist that killed two innocent students in a terrorist bombing.
There is a documentary from 2004 that features Odeh and a terrorist colleague named Ayesha Oudeh that was also involved in the bombing. As the National Review points out, Ayesha details their involvement in the bombing and says Odeh “was more involved than I was” in it.
The Islamist-aligned coalition, consisting of both religious and non-religious political groups, claims she was tortured into a confession by the Israelis. Even if that were true, it doesn’t change the fact that she lied on her papers to become a U.S. citizen.
Basil Joffe, whose brother was killed in Odeh’s bombing, said he “just about vomited” when her learned that various organizations were coming to her aid. He described his brother’s corpse as so burnt that it was almost unidentifiable. The other victim was his brother’s best friend.
Odeh maintains extremist ties in the U.S. She is now the Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, Illinois. Its director, Hatem Abudayyeh, had his home raided by the FBI in September 2010 because of alleged links to the PFLP and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a non-Muslim terrorist group. Odeh’s arrest is seen as a result of this investigation.
“The U.S. and Israel will continue to describe Hamas, Hezbollah and the other Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organizations as ‘terrorists,’ but the real terrorists are the governments and military forces of the U.S. and Israel,” Abudayyeh said in 2006.
Abuddayeh also leads another group in Chicago named the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. Both of his organizations are working hard to defend Odeh. This second group was registered by Rafeeq Jaber, former president of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a pro-Hamas group that is the predecessor to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
The IAP became defunct after it lost a $156 million lawsuit that accused it of contributing to the murder of an American by Hamas. The U.S. government also listed the IAP as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body set up to push the Hamas agenda. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood document identifies IAP as one of its fronts.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression, a main group defending Odeh, attacks the official leading the investigation that led to the 2010 raids and presumably her arrest. The attack is based on the fact that he prosecuted five officials from the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood front that was financing Hamas. Of course, that’s not what the page says. It says they are imprisoned for “providing charity to children in Gaza.”
The Islamists’ interfaith allies reflexively assume the worst of the U.S. government and the best of the Islamists. They should look further – at least as far back as 1979 when two innocent students were incinerated and ten others maimed for the crime of buying groceries.