Deported Palestinian terrorist killer Rasmea Odeh is still celebrated on U.S. campuses, with particular viciousness at UC-Berkeley.
Rasmea Odeh is a terrorist who not only was convicted of killing two Israeli students, she lied to get into the U.S. and become a U.S. citizen.
Odeh was convicted of immigration fraud and deported in September 2017. Now she’s making a comeback on campuses, glorified by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, and just recently at UC-Berkeley, where anti-Israel activists ripped up a photo of her victims.
Rasmea Odeh – Convicted Killer and Immigration Fraudster
Rasmea Odeh was a Palestinian military member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who masterminded the bombing of the SuperSol supermarket in Jerusalem in 1969, killing Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.
Odeh placed the bomb on a shelf, with a secondary bomb timed to go off when first-responders would arrive. The first bomb went off as planned, the second bomb was defused moments before it was set to detonate.
Odeh also organized the attempted bombing of the British consulate. That bomb failed to detonate.
Odeh confessed to the bombings, along with her co-conspirators, one day after arrest. Odeh and her co-conspirators had legal representation, and the trial was attended by a representative of the International Red Cross, who described the trial as fair.
After first going to Lebanon, Odeh made her way to Jordan, and from Jordan to the U.S. in 1994. In order to gain admission to the U.S., Odeh lied on her visa application, falsely denying, among other things, that she ever had been in prison or was a member of a terrorist group. She also did not disclose her time in Lebanon.
Odeh settled in Chicago, where she obtained U.S. citizenship in 2003. Odeh again lied, this time on her naturalization application, falsely denying clear questions as to whether she EVER (bold and caps on form) had been convicted of a crime, been in prison, or was a member of a terrorist group.
In 2014, after Odeh’s true background was discovered by the FBI, Odeh was charged with falsely obtaining naturalization based on the lies about her having been convicted.
After a trial, Odeh was convicted, but the conviction was overturned on appeal based on the trial court’s failure to hold a hearing on whether to allow Odeh to put on a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder defense. That defense was based on Odeh’s claim that she had been sexually tortured by Israeli interrogators for 25 days leading to her (allegedly false) confession to the bombing. That PTSD defense, according to Odeh, caused her to answer the questions on the immigration forms incorrectly.
It was a preposterous defense on the facts, but the appeals court held the trial judge at least should have held a hearing on whether the defense could be presented.
The PTSD defense had no factual basis because Odeh confessed the day after arrest, not 25 days later as she claimed. That timing alone disproved her claim of prolonged sexual torture. There also was a mountain of independent evidence implicating Odeh at the time, and that evidence mounted in later years when Odeh’s co-conspirators bragged in pro-Palestinian films how Odeh was the mastermind of the bombings.
As a re-trial approached, the government expanded the charges and intended to prove that Odeh was a member of a terrorist group (in addition to lying about her conviction). Among other things, the government indicated it would take testimony from one of Odeh’s co-conspirators, now living in the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority, who identified Odeh as the mastermind. Faced with a trial which would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Odeh was a terrorist, Odeh pleaded guilty.
As part of her plea deal, Odeh admitted that when she lied on the immigration forms, she was not suffering from PTSD.
The narrative above is known to me because I spent years researching Odeh and the case. For a short summation of why the story of Rasmea Odeh as victim was false, read my column in the Detroit News, Justice for Rasmea.
If you want to delve deeper into the evidence, these posts lay out the case:
- 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
My theory is that Odeh lied about 25 days of sexual torture because she ratted-out her terrorist compatriots, allowing the Israelis to roll-up the network. Claiming confession only after weeks of sexual torture was Odeh’s way of excusing her complicity. I explained it all in my interview about the case, The Lies of Rasmea Odeh and Her Supporters Exposed:
Now I’ve never taken a position, and I still don’t, whether she was tortured or not. But I do take the position that the historical record shows that her story of only confessing after 25 days of torture is not true.
I’ve always had a theory of why she said that. Again, I’m not taking a position on whether she was tortured. But she was the first or one of the first female military of the PFLP, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It would have looked very bad for her if she confessed within a day. If she turned in other people. If she led the police to various locations where they got more evidence. If she had just done that under normal police questioning.
And if you look back at the trial record from Israel, the investigator, one of the investigators, and I’ve put this on my website, said that she was “an easy nut to crack.” As soon as she realized other people were confessing, she confessed. So-called Prisoner’s Dilemma, that a lot of people talk about; do you hold out if you think somebody else is going to spill the beans before you…. So it’s always been my view that she had to tell the story of the 25 days to maintain her credibility within the terrorist organization.
And in fact we see that playing out today, the reason she’s held out to be so credible is that she did suffer for so long. And so I think there is a reason for her to become this victim, this public victim, so that when she does get sent back [to the Middle East], if she does get sent back. She [will be] treated as a returning hero, not as somebody who after 24 hours turned in all her compatriots.”
Rasmea Makes A Comeback On Campuses
I provide all this background and detail above, even though I’ve done it before, because Rasmea Odeh is making a comeback on campuses among anti-Israel student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
This is not the first time Odeh has been popularized among the radical anti-Israel fringe. Odeh was a hero to anti-Zionist ‘Jewish Voice for Peace,’ as documented in Jewish Voice for Peace’s long embrace of convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh.
Odeh was hugged on stage by Linda Sarsour, also one of the JVP featured speakers:Odeh became a national hero to the anti-Israel movement, particularly on campuses, as I documented in 2015, The Sickening Deification of Rasmea Odeh.
With her conviction on immigration fraud, admission in the plea deal that she did not suffer from PTSD (contrary to what she and her supporters had claimed for years), and deportation to Jordan, Odeh mostly faded off the activist agenda.
But of late, Odeh is making a comeback on campuses, where groups like SJP include Odeh on a short list of terrorists portrayed as Palestinian freedom fighters. Their images have been placed on numerous campuses this academic year as part of BDS campaigns. BDS is tied to the PFLP, so it is no surprise that the featured terrorists in BDS campaigns are from the PFLP.
Josh Eibelman, a student at Cornell, recently shined a spotlight on this trend of promoting PFLP terrorists, When Will Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine Stop Endorsing A Terror Organization?
On Tuesday, Jan. 28, Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine shared a post on Facebook from the Central Ohio Revolutionary Socialists page. The post read, “This is how you respond to Trump and Netanyahu’s calls for ‘negotiation’ and ‘peace talks’ based on their plan for permanent apartheid” and included a video interview with Ghassan Kanafani entitled “A Conversation Between the Sword and the Neck – Ghassan Kanafani”.
Ghassan Kanafani was no ordinary Palestinian leader: he was one of the leaders of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine, a group that has conducted hundreds of terror attacks against innocent civilians since the late 1960s….
This is not the first time Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine has promoted PFLP propaganda. Last spring, the group used a PFLP poster to promote an event called “From Ferguson to Palestine: A Conversation Surrounding Struggle” before taking it down after students protested. And Cornell SJP has repeatedly defended Rasmeah Odeh, a former member of the PFLP responsible for a 1969 Jerusalem bombing which killed two Israeli college students, calling her an “activist.” Cornell Collective for Justice in Palestine, an organization which co-signed Cornell SJP’s call for BDS last spring, has a photograph of PFLP member Leila Khaled as its Facebook profile picture. Khaled led multiple plane hijackings while active in the PFLP.
Rasmea Odeh also was among terrorists glorified at UC-Berkeley, as this letter from pro-Israel StandWithUs to the UC-Berkeley Chancellor recites:
A UC Berkeley student group has put up a campus display glorifying terrorists:
– Leila Khaled, who hijacked planes
– Fatima Bernawi, who tried to bomb a crowded movie theater
– Rasmea Odeh, who helped murder Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, two Jewish students in Israel
The student government has officially refused to condemn this display, so it is time for the administration to act.
Demand that UC Berkeley oppose the glorification of terrorism.
More on the recent UC-Berkeley events from Jewish Weekly:
After a chaotic UC Berkeley student government meeting last week, a resolution condemning a photo display that pro-Israel students said glorifies terrorists failed in a 4-1 vote on Monday night in a senate committee.
Shelby Weiss, a Hillel member and the only student senator who voted yes on the resolution, said she was “deeply disappointed” by the outcome.
“It just never ceases to amaze me the trivialization of Jewish death on this campus,” she said.
The vote came after a turbulent ASUC meeting on Feb. 3, when the resolution originally was scheduled for a vote. Hundreds of students showed up to deliver public comments, but the meeting devolved into shouting and threats, leading the student committee to postpone the vote for a week.
About 150 people showed up on Monday night, including representatives of multiple student groups who came to oppose the resolution. The discourse was less heated, according to Weiss.
The resolution concerned photos and descriptions of female Palestinian leaders and militants put on display by Bears for Palestine, a campus group that promotes Palestinian history and culture. The group’s space is inside a room designated for student organizations in Eshleman Hall.
Among the featured photos are Rasmea Odeh, convicted for her involvement in a 1969 bombing in Jerusalem that killed two college students, and Leila Khaled, involved in multiple plane hijackings, including a 1970 El Al flight.
The Berkeley anti-Israel students even ripped up photos of Odeh’s victims, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner:
It’s too early to tell if Rasmea will return to the hero status among anti-Israel campus activists that she held prior to her conviction and deportation. But it can’t be coincidence that Odeh’s image is being circulated, and that anti-Israel students are figuratively dancing on the graves of her victims.
I visited those graves. The memories of Edward and Leon are a blessing. The haters at Berkeley will not win.DONATE
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