JVP support didn’t start with this year’s Annual Meeting speaker invite.
Rasmea Odeh will be a featured speaker at the 2017 annual meeting of Jewish Voice for Peace in Chicago, March 31st – April 2nd.
The JVP invite has been covered widely, including at Algemeiner, Jerusalem Post, Chicago Tribune, Daily Caller, Washington Free Beacon, and The Tower, among others. ADL also has commented on the invitation.
Rasmea is listed as one of the featured speakers, on a Who’s Who list of anti-Israel activists (image below is only partial list).
Rasmea will participate in a panel called “All In!”:
The surprise at Rasmea’s participation reflected in the news and opinion coverage should not be a surprise.
As documented below, JVP and its various chapters have been supporters of Rasmea for several years. The invitation to the annual meeting is just the latest in a long line of praise and recognition heaped on Rasmea by JVP dating back at least to 2013.
Because we have covered both Rasmea and JVP so extensively over the years we have witnessed that relationship grow. Rasmea is part of JVP’s intense campaign to delegitimize Israel through “intersectionality” theory. That goal also serves Rasmea’s purpose of generating publicity and fundraising to defend a criminal case she is facing for immigration fraud.
Below I only briefly summarize our extensive research on Rasmea and JVP, otherwise this post would turn into a book. We then turn to the social media and other history showing JVP’s support for Rasmea culminating in the annual meeting invitation and featured speaker position.
Rasmea Odeh – Convicted Terrorist Being Re-tried for Immigration Fraud
Rasmea Odeh, a military member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was convicted in 1970 in Israel for the 1969 bombing of the SuperSol supermarket that killed two Hebrew University students, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner. Rasmea also was convicted of the attempted bombing of the British consulate.Her Israeli trial was public, and attended by an observer from the International Red Cross, who stated afterward that the trial was fair. In addition to a signed confession made the day after her arrest, voluminous evidence was presented at the trial including bomb-making material found in her bedroom and other forensic evidence. In recent interviews for pro-Palestinian documentary films, two of Rasmea’s co-conspirators confirmed Rasmea’s involvement, one of them describing Rasmea as the mastermind.
Despite this evidence, Rasmea proclaims her innocence. She says that the only reason she was convicted was because of her confession, which she says was procured only after 25 days of sexual torture. Her narrative is contradicted by the fact that she confessed after one day, not 25, and the other evidence of guilt. These key posts of mine summarized the evidence:
- Rasmea Odeh rightly convicted of Israeli supermarket bombing and U.S. immigration fraud
- Prosecutors seek testimony of Rasmea Odeh bombing co-conspirators
- Rasmea Odeh prosecutors: At new trial, we’ll prove Rasmea was a terrorist
- New VIDEO surfaces implicating Rasmea Odeh in deadly supermarket bombing
- Rasmea Odeh’s victims – then and now
Rasmea was released in 1979 in a prisoner swap for an Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon. She eventually made her way to the U.S. in 1994 from Jordan. She lied on her visa application, by failing to disclose that the had lived in Lebanon and by denying having been imprisoned or convicted. In 2003 Rasmea again lied on her naturalization papers through which she became a citizen.
Rasmea was indicted for immigration fraud in 2013 based on the lies on her immigration forms. She was convicted in 2014, but after appeal, was granted a new trial in which she will be allowed to assert that her false statements on her immigration forms were caused by PTSD resulting from her torture several decades earlier.
The PTSD theory is that Rasmea “filtered” the immigration questions such that when asked if she “EVER” (caps and bold on the original form) had been convicted or imprisoned, she unconsciously “filtered” the question to refer only to the time since she arrived in the U.S. in 1994, and hence did not “knowingly” give a false answer (an element of the crime).
The re-trial on immigration charges is scheduled for May 2017.
Since her indictment, Rasmea has grown as a figure in the anti-Israel movement in the U.S., as I documented in my 2015 post, The Sickening Deification of Rasmea Odeh. The key role Rasmea plays, and promotes herself as playing, is in “intersectionality” activism. That is, making Israel the central link for all problems of minorities in the U.S. This intersectionality theory places Jews in the “white” and “privileged” category, ignoring of course millennia of anti-Semitic persecution of Jews.
JVP – Leading Anti-Israel Group
You need to understand that JVP’s name is misleading. It is not a Jewish group. It only claims to support “Jewish traditions of social justice” as set forth on its 2016 listing of Core Values.
Judaism for JVP is a marketing tool. JVP is a left-wing anti-Israel activist group like any other that has branded itself as Jewish because it enables JVP to carve out a very important niche — what I have called the “as a Jew” space:
“As a Jew” is a phrase that starts the conversation for some left-wing Jews when it comes to Israel, and particularly “the occupation.”
The establishment of Jewish identity at the start serves as the shield for what is to follow: A completely one-sided, factually inaccurate, historically-skewed bashing of Israel.
JVP also is not for peace. Being for non-violence in the cause of destroying Israel is not the same as being for peace. JVP takes a very hard line, fully backing and advancing the BDS movement, which seeks Israel’s destruction.
The ADL describes JVP‘s role in the anti-Israel movement as follows:
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States. Despite the neutral tone of its name, JVP works to demonstrate Jewish opposition to the State of Israel and to steer public support away from the Jewish State.
JVP has assumed a particularly visible role in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which has become the most oft-used tactic by the domestic anti-Israel movement in recent years. JVP activists have worked to support a variety of divestment resolutions considered by university student governments and mainline churches, including the U.S. Presbyterian Church. The group also has an ongoing BDS initiative, “We Divest,” which targets TIAA-CREF, a major financial services organization.
JVP uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and to provide the movement with a veneer of legitimacy. On its website, JVP recognizes its role as such, noting that the group’s Jewish nature gives it a “particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies” and the ability to distinguish “between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue.”
[Full ADL Profile of JVP here – pdf.]
That synopsis reflects our own research into and documentation of JVP’s role in the anti-Israel movement.
JVP is relentless in its demonization of Israel, and supports almost any anti-Israel cause and personality. JVP works relentlessly to isolate Israel, using its Jewish name to provide cover to groups like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement who use anti-Semitic stereotypes to present Israel as Jews historically have been demonized. Prof. Miriam Elman summarized this aspect of JVP’s strategy in her post Jewish Voice for Peace – “Jew Washing” the anti-Israel movement.
Perhaps most pernicious is how JVP manipulates and alters Jewish holidays to turn them against Israel.
Here are some of our other key posts on JVP:
- “Jewish Voice for Peace” Hijacks Chanukah for Anti-Israel Messaging
- Jewish Voice for Peace hijacks High Holidays for anti-Israel messaging
- Under pressure, Jewish Voice for Peace re-embraces Miko Peled just days after accusing him of antisemitism
- “Jews of Color Caucus” – Jewish Voice for Peace’s newest front group
- Anti-Israel activists hijack Passover, turn it into Palestinian liberation event
- Jewish Voice for Peace helps disrupt Israeli LGBTQ group Sabbath event
- Jewish Voice for Peace can’t seem to stay away from Alison Weir
- ‘Jewish Voice for Peace’ defends anti-Israel Third Grade event
- Jewish Voice for Peace seeks to divide and conquer support for Israel
If you understand the role JVP plays in the anti-Israel movement, JVP’s alignment with Rasmea makes perfect sense.
JVP’s Long History of Supporting Rasmea
JVP has been supporting Rasmea at least since Rasmea’s indictment in 2013. Below is some of the social media and other history of that support.
It’s not exhaustive — but it is illustrative.
JVP national and numerous chapters have supported Rasmea from the moment of her indictment, and have raised her as a symbol of resistance to Israel.
2013 – Post-Indictment
Within days of the indictment in October 2013, JVP was helping promote protests and petitions:
On November 6, 2013, JVP issued a statement of solidarity, JVP-Chicago Statement re: Indictment of Rasmea Odeh:
Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago stands in solidarity with Rasmea Yousef Odeh and calls on our government and authorities to treat her with justice and drop all charges against her.
This image from The Electric Intifada appears to show David Finkel of JVP-Detroit standing outside the courthouse on November 13, 2013, after Rasmea’s arraignment (center, rear):
The next day, November 14, 2013, Finkel authored a column demanding the charges be dropped, Defend Rasmea Odeh – Drop the Charges!, in Solidarity magazine:
Since her indictment in 2013, Odeh has become a “symbol” for the Palestinian struggle in the United States. Her supporters describe her prosecution as deliberate repression to weaken Palestinian activism.
On Monday, David Finkel, of the Jewish Voice for Peace, a pro-Palestinian Jewish American advocacy group, described the Odeh case as a frontline for the struggle against injustice.
The support continued throughout 2014 as her trial approached, with multiple JVP Chapters organizing support for Rasmea:
Rasmea was convicted of unlawfully procuring naturalization on November 10, 2014. That kicked into gear even more protests by JVP and other Rasmea support groups.
2015 – Fundraising and Organizing for Appeal
2015 was spend by JVP and other groups fundraising, and organizing for the appeal.
JVP National even urged prosecutors to drop the charges (they didn’t).
In October 2015, after oral argument of Rasmea’s appeal, her supporters gathered outside the courthouse:
Mark Sniderman of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in Cincinnati expressed the clear sentiment that
“Rasmea’s case must be thrown out…It goes to our Jewish beliefs in the repair and mending of the world and to amplify the voices of those who can’t be heard in the halls of power…Her case was shot through with politics. She was a Palestinian who stood up against the immoral occupation. People everywhere would all agree to reject a confession obtained through weeks of torture…Quoting Martin Luther King ‘Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.’ Do justice, reverse this conviction. Restore Rasmea to her life and work.”
2016-Present: Keeping The Movement Alive
2016 was spent anticipating whether Rasmea would get a new trial (she did).
2017 Annual Meeting
JVP obviously has taken notice of the negative publicity about Rasmea both at the Women’s Strike and the JVP Annual Meeting. Not surprisingly, it it digging in, tweeting support for Rasmea and pride in having her as a featured speaker.
What emerges from this history of JVP and JVP chapters supporting Rasmea Odeh is that her appearance at the 2017 annual meeting is no surprise.
To the contrary, Rasmea and JVP are flip sides of the same coin.