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2017 story that defined my years, the conviction and deportation of terrorist Rasmea Odeh

2017 story that defined my years, the conviction and deportation of terrorist Rasmea Odeh

… and the families of her victims I met along the way.

Many of our authors are compiling lists of their favorite posts and stories from this past year.

I don’t have a list.

There is one story that so outweighed every other thing I’ve written about this year, and perhaps since we turned the website live on October 12, 2008, that no list is needed.

I’m talking about my coverage of the trial, appeal, potential re-trial, and ultimate deportation of Rasmea Odeh. Seeing that miserable lying little terrorist murderer kicked out of this country was the consummation of almost three years of coverage. But it was about so much more.

If you have been reading Legal Insurrection for any amount of time, you know the story. If you are new here, the very, very short version is that Rasmea Odeh masterminded the 1969 bombing of the SuperSol supermarket in Jerusalem, killing Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.

The evidence against Rasmea was and is overwhelming, and she received a full trial that even an observer from the International Red Cross said at the time was fair.

In later years Rasmea’s co-conspirators would record videos, after release from prison, attesting to Rasmea’s involvement

Yet Rasmea falsely claimed she was convicted only because she gave a false confession after 25 days of sexual torture. In fact, she confessed after just one day. She carried on that lie for the next several decades, including in her U.S. court proceedings.

Rasmea was released from Israeli prison after only 10 years in a prisoner exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon. She eventually made her way to the U.S. where she lied on her visa application and again on her naturalization papers by falsely denying, among other things, that she ever had been convicted of a crime or imprisoned.

In her U.S. court proceedings charging her with the crime of unlawfully obtaining naturalization, she concocted the ludicrous claim that she didn’t understand the immigration forms because she suffered from PTSD. That PTSD supposedly caused Rasmea to filter the words so that the question whether she “EVER” (all caps and bold on original form) had been convicted or imprisoned was understood by her to mean only since coming to the U.S.

It was a lie, just like her tortured confession lie, that was spread far and wide by her anti-Israel supporters in the U.S. Rasmea became a hero and was honored by groups like Jewish Voice for Peace.

My coverage helped to set the record straight, and that was successful in large part. While the anti-Israel activists never were swayed, my coverage helped provide the resources for others to tell the true story:

In the end, Rasmea pled guilty rather than face a re-trial, because she was guilty of immigration fraud. In her plea agreement, Rasmea admitted the falsity of her PTSD defense.

She was deported to Jordan in September 2017, and has barely been heard from since. Good riddance to the miserable wretch of a person.

But my Rasmea Odeh coverage was not so much about the destination of deportation, but the journey.

That journey brought me into contact with the families of Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.

I visited them in Israel, and also visited and said prayers at the graves of Edward and Leon, who are buried side-by-side on the edge of Jerusalem.

[Graves of Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner Jerusalem, photo by William Jacobson]

I’m reminded of the comment a terror survivor at a Moshav on the Lebanese border, who was severely injured in a 1970 rocket attack on his school bus, losing his father and cousins in the attack. His revenge was surviving and thriving:

What were his feelings over the years? Shimon felt that he had exacted revenge, but not in the way you might think.

Revenge, according to Shimon, came from the fact that “we are still here and building for another 70 families.”

The case become so much more than about Rasmea Odeh – it was about how people survived terror and thrived. The heartache always was there, but so was life.

What also was satisfying is that I got to give a closing statement through a video interview about the case, about The Lies of Rasmea Odeh and Her Supporters Exposed.

The case, the families, and my closing statement were the highlight of my past 9 years at Legal Insurrection.

[Featured Image: Me with the sisters of Leon Kanner and one of the brothers of Edward Joffe, Israel 2015]


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Rasmea also had a very good judge working on this case. He was not going to be pushed out of his proper role.

The federal prosecutors were excellent, too, from all appearances.

DouglasJBender | December 30, 2017 at 9:52 pm

Well done, Professor Jacobson.

Well done.

We will never be free of frauds like Odeh, if they are allowed to lie and get away with it. It is very worthwhile to tell their stories, and make sure they do not profit from their lies.

There are no lies in Islam. No blood is ever on their hands. There is no pity. There is no understanding. They revel in primitive bloodfests and hatred. Death gives Muslims joy.
It is sad but true. It differs them from all other normal people of faith.

When you started this site did you imagine how influential it would become? Well done sir. Keep it up, please.

May she remain obscure and out of this country until Death claims her. Prayers for the continued comfort of her victims’ families.

Professor, your reporting on this story exemplefied journalism at its best — shining a light on injustice and evil, as well as victims whom the Left had been all-too-happy to pretend had never existed, or, alternatively, who existed, but, didn’t matter when compared to an unjustly canonized terrorist-saint.

I salute you for a job exceedingly well-done.

Awesome job!! Keep up the great work!!


I was intel. Which naturally means sometimes I need things spelled out.