After the censorship of Rasmea Odeh by Berlin authorities on 15 March, when she was scheduled to speak at an event on Palestinian women in the liberation struggle alongside poet and freed prisoner Dareen Tatour, organizations and people of conscience around the world are adding their voices to declare that they want to hear Rasmea speak. Most concerningly, German authorities stripped Rasmea of her Schengen visa at the demand of Israeli and U.S. officials, both tied deeply to the global right wing.
Rasmea Odeh is a lifelong struggler for Palestine, a community organizer of hundreds of Palestinian women and a transnational feminist who has received awards for her groundbreaking organizing work and support from renowned figures like Angela Davis. The attack on her in the United States brought countless organizations together to fight back against racist attempts to silence and exclude a powerful Palestinian woman and a co-signer of the initial call for the International Women’s Strike.
Rasmea is fighting back in court in Germany, but this decision was purely political, rather than legal. Therefore, support for people around the world is necessary to push back against the demands of the Trump and Netanyahu governnments that Rasmea Odeh be silenced in Germany – and throughout Europe.
Not only does the attack on Rasmea deprive her of her own right to speak, it is an attempt to prevent people in Berlin and everywhere in Europe from hearing her critically important message and the stories of Rasmea’s own life: as a sexual assault and torture survivor at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces, who brought her story to the United Nations; a former political prisoner; a community organizer; a global feminist thinker and activist.
Below are just a portion of the numerous messages of support and solidarity we are receiving to support Rasmea’s campaign to speak and move freely. U.S. and Israeli officials are attempting to chase Rasmea around the world to build a new form of imprisonment and silencing wherever she goes. This is also an attempt to silence the Palestinian cause and repress Palestinian community and Palestine solidarity activism and organizing. On the other hand, peoples and movements are making clear that this is unacceptable, and that we will not settle for anything other than the protection of Rasmea’s rights and those of all peoples under attack for their existence and struggle for justice.
Your statements can help push back against the campaign of intimidation and smears led by Israel’s anti-BDS ministry and complicit officials. Please send your statements of solidarity and factual news coverage to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the campaign to defend Rasmea Odeh in Germany! Follow our facebook page: RasmeaSpricht
Statements and critical reports are linked below. In addition, multiple reports and statements in French and German are available at the websites of Coup Pour Coup 31 and Palästina-Solidarität. Electronic Intifada has also reported on the hateful campaign to silence Rasmea.
On 27 March, the #RasmeaSpricht campaign will hold an event in Berlin, supported by a number of organizations in Germany, as well as in the United States, such as the Rasmea Defense Committee – U.S., the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the US Palestinian Community Network.
Local endorsers include:
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
Berlin Muslim Feminists
Bündnis gegen Rassismus
HIRAK (Palästinensische Jugendbewegung-von Berlin)
The Coalition Berlin
Bloque Latinoamericano Berlin
Brot und Rosen ” internationalistische sozialistische Frauenorganisation”
Revolutionäre Internationalistische Organisation – Klasse Gegen Klasse
Berlin Against Pinkwashing
Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte
RefrACTa Kollektiv Brasilien-Berlin
Feministische Gruppe Kali
Workers from Turkey in Europe: Yeni Kadin (New Women) and ATIK (Confederation of Workers from Turkey in Europe) (Original link: Turkish)
Germany: Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost e.V. (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East) (Original link: German)
Netherlands: Netherlands Palestine Committee
Portugal: MPPM Portugal (Movimento pelos dereitos do Povo Palestino e pela paz no Medio Oriente) (Original link: Portuguese)
Spain: Mundo Obrero (newspaper of the PCE, Communist Party of Spain) (Original link: Spanish)
Verein Dar al Janub – Facebook
Acting for the German government, the Berlin Senate Department of the Interior, has denied Rasmea Odeh a Schengen Visa and the right to speak. This clearly illustrates how the war-like expansionism of Europe in Africa, the Islamic and Arabic world and of course Latin America should work on the “home front”.
Entirely in accordance with the words of the crafty former social democratic Minister of Defense, Peter Struck, the “security of the Federal Republic” must not only be “defended on the Hindu Kush”, but also in Mali, Venezuela, Libya or Palestine. And, of course, “defense” really means war, colonization, occupation, sabotage and starvation.
Consequently, Rasmea Odeh, born in Lifta in 1948 and expelled by terrorist Zionist militias, must be silenced. As a survivor of the Nakba, she embodies not only Palestinian history, but also the history of Palestinian resistance. Today, the Israeli government wants to raze the ruins of Lifta, and the German government wants to shut the mouth of the witness.
The ruins of the village to which Rasmea’s return is forbidden and the suppression of her voice are both parts of the historic injustice of the European colonial projects in Palestine.
The campaign to silence Rasmea was launched by the diplomatic representatives of the governments that were responsible for the historical and continuing destruction of Iraq for the thousands of deaths in war-torn Syria, and the enormous suffering of the people of Gaza. The US ambassador, Jeremy Grenell, and the Israeli ambassador, Jeremy Issacharoff , supported by neo-imperial campaigners in the German media have reliable partners in German governing circles.
These governments demonstrate their power. They present “peace” plans – one-, two-, three- and no-state solutions – even as they issue marching orders to their troops and nip any chance of a real and just peace in the bud. But Rasmea may not speak in Germany.
Words stick in the throats of those that are choked.
Silence fans out and from afar it appears as assent.
The victory of violence seems complete.
Only mutilated bodies report that criminals occupied this place. Only silence, reigning over the ravaged dwellings, is witness to the atrocity.
So is the fight over? Can the atrocity be forgotten? Can the witnesses be gagged and the murdered buried in haste? Can injustice prevail even though it is injustice?
Atrocities can be forgotten. The witnesses can be gagged and the murdered buried in haste. Injustice can prevail even though it is injustice. Repression takes a seat at the table and reaches for the meal with its bloody hands.
But those who haul in the meal do not forget the weight of the bread, and their hunger still pains even though the word hunger is banned. Whoever said hunger lies there slain.
Whoever called out repression is down and gagged. But those paying the interest do not forget the usurer. But the repressed do not forget the boot on their neck. Even before the violence has reached its peak, resistance begins anew.
(Bert Brecht, “Voices about Karl Kraus on his 60th Birthday”, Vienna, 1934)
Dar al Janub – Union for Anti-Racist and Peace Policy Initiatives, March 18, 2019 (International Day of Political Prisoners)
Yeni Kadin (New Women) and ATIK (Confederation of Workers from Turkey in Europe) – Facebook
We condemn the repression of Palestinian women strugglers Rasmea Odeh and Dareen Tatour!
We support the legitimate, just resistance of the Palestinian people!
Many activities organized to support the just stuggle of the Palestinian people before the international public eye, which are growing in mass support, are constantly hampered by attacks by the Israeli state and supporters of Zionism. Most recently, an event on Palestine in Berlin, Germany on 15 March was cancelled through the use of threats and pressure.
On 15 March 2019, the panel discussion on Palestine organized by Palestinian and solidarity groups in Berlin at the Dersim Cultural Center featuring Rasmea Odeh and Dareen Tatour, was cancelled due to intense pressure by reactionary organizations that began days prior to the event. This was whipped up by pro-apartheid news articles and reporters, framed in a way to further intensify the pressure on these two Palestinian women activists and using the “terrorist” label to escalate the attacks. German politicians like Volker Beck of the Green Party, who regularly attack Palestinian activism, also joined in the anti-Palestinian campaign, as did Berlin Mayor Michael Müller.
The U.S. and Zionist Israeli consulates in Germany intervened and further exerted pressure on the German state to cancel Rasmea Odeh’s Schengen visa and order her to leave Germany as soon as possible.
When women are involved in struggle and resistance, the fears of unjust rulers increase.
These two Palestinian women activists were invited as speakers to the event on 15 March as part of the commemoration of International Women’s Day. The Israeli state and its partners wanted to silence the voice of Palestinian women by preventing this event from taking place. They cannot, however, silence the voices of women in this just struggle. The resistance will once again win!
As ATIK and Yeni Kadin, we declare our solidarity with Rasmea Odeh and Dareen Tatour and condemn the German state’s attack on Rasmea.
Long live the rightful and legitimate resistance of the Palestinian people!
Resist the Zionist Israeli state and its imperial collaborators!
History is the witness of women’s struggle and cannot be silenced!
Long live the brotherhood of peoples!
ATIK- Confederation of Workers from Turkey in Europe
BDS Austria – Facebook
The ban on speech and presence for Rasmea Odeh is unworthy of a constitutional state
Unfortunately, in a “constitutional state,” unfounded allegations are often sufficient to silence critical voices. This is demonstrated by the repressive approach against Rasmea Odeh. The 72-year-old Palestinian woman was scheduled to give a lecture on “Women in the liberation struggle” on Friday, 15 March 2019 in Berlin. Now the Berlin Senate Department for Internal Affairs and Sport has instead imposed a “ban on political activity” and stripped her Schengen visa. 
Rasmea Odeh, a woman who has spent her entire life raising her voice against various injustices, is to be silenced by this action. When Rasmea was about to enter the site of the planned event on Waterloo-Ufer, the approximately 150 participants in the event witnessed a restriction of freedom of expression that is unworthy of a constitutional state. In the presence of only about 15 Zionist demonstrators with Israeli flags, Rasmea was surrounded by dozens of police forces. This acclaimed civil rights activist with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) in Chicago was treated like a public enemy in Berlin; they took her identity documents and forced her to move away from the site through half of the city. 
For Rasmea, this is the second similar curtailment of her right to residence or movement in a short period of time. The native Palestinian woman has already lost her home country twice. It was only in the fall of 2017 that her US citizenship was revoked.  The reason given for this action was an allegation that over 20 years before, Rasmea had allegedly made false statements when applying for immigration. She did not mention that she was sentenced to life imprisonment in Israel in 1970 and released after 10 years of imprisonment in a prisoner exchange….
In a legal battle lasting several years in the United States, the US Palestinian Community Network and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression organized a campaign to support her legal defense, working to expose the fact that her “confession” was extracted under torture and that the allegations of US authorities were false.  However, the court silenced her on multiple occasions, including preventing her from introducing evidence of the facts that Israel continues to torture Palestinian prisoners and that Israeli military tribunals, according to Human Rights Watch, have a nearly 100 percent conviction rate. 
But one thing is clear from Rasmea’s treatment: Western democracies are often less concerned with who is actually in the right, and more with what information is considered relevant by the court and what is not. It is enough to allege that Rasmea Odeh participated in a “terrorist act.” The authorities do not care much about the political and legal context of her conviction by Israeli authorities.
In order to silence public criticism of the apartheid state of Israel, self-proclaimed “leftist” supporters of the apartheid state in German-speaking countries are pressuring venue operators by threatening the withdrawal of public support if they host events on Palestine. That this pressure, in addition to coming from Greens, Social Democrats and other self-proclaimed leftist, also comes from right-wing parties such as the German AFD  or the Austrian FPÖ (as in the case of the Israeli Apartheid Week in Vienna 2016)  shows that this is less of a concern about fighting anti-Semitism, but rather to defend Israeli settler colonialism.
All German media have ignored essential realities of the case in their coverage. They unilaterally portray Rasmea as a “terrorist” or warn of “anti-Semitic content.”  In none of these articles is any anti-Semitic statement by Rasmea cited. In reality, she has a large number of supporters, including renowned civil rights activists like Angela Davis and human rights organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, facts hidden consciously or unconsciously by Western media. Her long list of supporters can be found here: http://justice4rasmea.org/defense-committee/
The attempt to silence Rasmea is not an isolated case, but a paradigmatic example for a time in which “constitutional states” are increasingly becoming lawless states. Around the world, we witness how the framework of “terrorist” or anti-Semitic “threats” are instrumentalized and deployed to restrict fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, assembly or privacy. This is a development that affects all citizens.
We at BDS Austria strongly condemn the actions of the US and German authorities. A state that uses the right of residence to silence critical voices is a state that is moving towards dictatorship.
Bertold Brecht is said to have said: “Where injustice becomes lawful, resistance becomes a duty”. We have to take this quote to heart. Let us be in solidarity with Rasmea, let us take an example of this resistance and demand our fundamental rights while it is still possible.
With solidarity greetings from Vienna,
BACBI – the Belgian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
The coordinating committee of BACBI, the association of Belgian academics and cultural workers in solidarity with Palestine, strongly condemns the violent intervention of the Berlin police against Mrs. Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian former prisoner and renowned activist. At the request of, among others, the American and Israeli ambassadors and complying with the witch-hunt against her by the German extreme right, she has been physically prevented by the police from speaking at a meeting calling for the liberation of Palestinian women in Israeli captivity. A visa that had been granted to her has been revoked and she was prohibited from political activity. This unacceptable crackdown on her and on a peaceful manifestation is a stain on Berlin’s reputation as a beacon of democracy, anti-racism and freedom of expression.
Em. Prof. Marie-Christine Closon (UCL), Prof. Patrick Deboosere (VUB), Prof. Lieven De Cauter (KU Leuven), Em. Prof. Herman De Ley (UGent), Em. Prof. Marc Demeyere (UGent), Prof. Serge Deruette (UMons), Lieve Franssen (dirigent Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor), Carl Gydé (directeur CAMPO), Em. Prof. Madeline Lutjeharms (VUB), Prof. Perrine Humblet (ULB), Prof. Marc Jacquemain (Université de Liège), Raven Ruëll (régisseur), Em. Prof. Christiane Schomblond (ULB), Dr. Nozomi Takahashi (UGent), Prof. Karin Verelst (VUB).
Femmes en Lutte 93 – Facebook
Total support to Rasmea Odeh, Palestinian activist previously based in the USA. We share the press release of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network relayed by our comrades from Coup Pour Coup 31, following the campaign against the speech of the Palestinian struggler Rasmea Odeh in Berlin this Friday, March 15, 2019.
After a frantic harassment campaign led by pro-apartheid journalists, the Israeli ambassador and the American ambassador in Germany (well-known for his links with extreme right groups), Berlin officials said Friday night, 15 March, that the visa of former Palestinian prisoner and renowned activist Rasmea Odeh would be cancelled and her political activity banned.
This was clearly a racist attack against the right of a Palestinian woman to speak and the right of her audience to hear her words. During her life, she has been subjected to intense state violence: sexual assault, torture, imprisonment, deportation. The confiscation of her visa is only the latest example of state violence against Rasmea Odeh in order to prevent her message from being heard, a message that gained the support of Angela Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace (USA) and countless supporters of justice all over the world.
It is important to note that after the demonstration, enthusiastic and led by women and young people, participants – especially Palestinian youth participants – were followed by the police and interviewed about chants during the event (especially those challenging German foreign policy) or on their relationship with Rasmea, even a few hours after the end of the event. This was an attempt to intimidate young people involved in the movement for justice in Palestine.
We urge people of conscience from all over the world to support justice for Rasmea Odeh and justice for Palestine. We will be launching calls for additional actions in the next few days. Your statements and messages of solidarity are important to make it clear that the world rejects the actions of the German state.
International Solidarity is essential! Please send your support statements for Rasmea Odeh to email@example.com.
Kali Feminist Collective – Facebook
Why the freedom of speech of Palestinian women’s rights activist Rasmea Odeh must be important to us as feminists!
On 15 March, Rasmea Odeh, a former Palestinian prisoner, together with Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, herself a former political prisoner, was to give a lecture at the Dersim Cultural Center on the experiences of political prisoners in occupied Palestine. If we were indeed to live in a democratic environment in Germany for freedom of expression, these extremely marginalized women speakers would have been able to present their political expression and perspectives on torture and imprisonment to a diverse Berlin audience, as well as art and culture as a form of nonviolent protest. The following program would have included an open discussion and, as the conclusion of the evening, the audience could have experienced dance and theater performances. All in all, it could have been a successful evening for two speakers oppressed by the state and patriarchy as well as their listeners.
However, when it comes to the interests of the Israeli state, Palestinian women are considered to have absolutely nothing to say. Not those who are in prison. Not even those who have to persevere in supposed freedom, but effectively still in a 50-year-old, open-air prison. And not even those who have completed their politically motivated imprisonment for several decades.
Unfortunately, the German public must once again face that in this country, the topic of “Israel and Palestine” is by no means governed by the maintenance of democratic pinciples such as pluralism of opinion and freedom of speech. Because when it comes to the political interests of the increasingly fascist-oriented state of Israel, the German state is – allegedly due to a severely misdirected, historical obligation to Jews – overly willing to override its claimed democratic principles and revive its fascist and racist past, in which only state-conforming opinions and voices could be heard in public.
Unfortunately, Germany, a country that likes to be regarded as purified of its history at home and abroad, is still subject to the sad misconception that overcoming the fascist dictatorship of the Third Reich and German anti-Semitism will be realized only through largely unconditional allegiance to Israeli state interests. Consequently, we see those advocate that German redemption from its own fascist, racist and genocidal past can be successful only if legitimate criticism of Israel’s repressive state policies is prevented from reaching the German public at all times by systematic bans on events.
Rasmea Odeh had received a Schengen visa. She had already arrived and was on German state territory, not Israeli state territory. Nevertheless, as happened in Frankfurt, Munich and more recently in Göttingen, the Israeli state was again able to effect its political interests in Germany. The Israeli ambassador, the U.S. ambassador and the Central Council of Jews called on the Berlin Interior Senator to ban the public activity of the Palestinian women activists. In this context, the Berlin Interior Senator conceded wholly to the pressure of the Israeli state and its lobbyists. Thus, the Palestinian woman speaker was banned from speaking at the event…Apparently, the German state did not want to expose Israeli state interests too much to the alleged “danger” of a single, marginalized Palestinian women’s rights activist, which is why the immigration authorities also insisted that Rasmea Odeh leave Germany before Friday, the 22nd. The stripping of Odeh’s visa was occasionally explained by the immigration authorities, claiming that her “presence” led to “significant threats to society”…
It is particularly despicable in this context that Rasmea Odeh must accustom herself to the fact that she is deprived of the universal human right of free public speech, once again forbidden by German authorities. A right that, as a lesson of the fascist past of Germany, is enshrined as a doctrine in the German constitution. Rasmea Odeh is a fighter on every level, carrying forward her community work and feminist struggle despite ongoing political marginalization, repression by the Israeli state, political imprisonment under the Israeli regime from 1969 to 1979, despite state torture and sexual violence, remaining committed. For example, she co-founded the Arab Women’s Committee in Chicago, where she was honored by her educational work by the Chicago Cultural Alliance in 2013 for her political resilience, rather than systematically muzzled.
It is extremely troubling in this context that not only German officials, but also some German media seem to collapse immediately when it comes to maintaining the state-focused German-Israeli relationship. Instead of demonstrating their unconditional loyalty to principles of freedom of expression and thorough journalistic research, some German journalists seem to obey the censorship of opinion by the German and Israeli states. If the editors of the “Berliner Morgenpost” and the “Tagesspiegel” were to share their principles of freedom of expression and balanced, fact-based reporting, they might have asked this Palestinian woman for a personal statement. They would not have unilaterally legitimized this massive encroachments on the basic rights of Rasmea Odeh and German freedom of expression with the Israeli-compliant justification that Rasmea Odeh was invited by the BDS alliance, which is often defamed as “anti-Semitic” in Germany, to an event. Real, thorough research should have made clear the facts; the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign is not directed against Jews, but against the occupation policy of the Israeli state. It had advertised the event, but had not organized it themselves. German newspaper pages might not have portrayed Rasmea Odeh one-sidedly and unjustly as an “ex-terrorist,” “anti-Semite” or “hate preacher” promoting “a hatred of Jews,” which she allegedly intended to re-implant in the heart of the purified German people, cleansed of historical guilt and apparently completely immature, according to state-compliant opinion. A people who are, apparently, at the same time denied the ability to differentate between legitimate and necessary criticism of a state from enmity focused on a group of people.
Well-balanced journalistic research would not have simply repeated an Israeli account according to which Odeh was involved in a bomb attack on a supermarket in 1969, killing two Israeli students and injuring others. It should also have been mentioned that Odeh’s confession of involvement was extracted under torture and sexual violence by the Israeli state, a confession she withdrew at trial and before a UN investigative committee. It might also have been mentioned that she had not simply served her sentence but had been released from political imprisonment by the Israeli state as part of a prisoner exchange.
It is fundamentally unacceptable that Rasmea Odeh, as a marginalized Palestinian speaker, has now been subjected to state repression by the German state in addition to repression by the state of Israel. That – once more – the universal right of freedom of speech and expression was systematically withheld because of patriarchal power interests. It is also quite sad that, from the point of view of the German state, people in what is supposed to be Germany’s environment of freedom of expression instead “must be protected” from the actual experience of democracy.
Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost e.V. (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East) – Website
The Jewish Voice demands freedom of speech for Rasmea Odeh in Berlin
We call on the Berlin authorities to not participate any longer in the political persecution targeting Palestinian human rights defenders who express themselves individually or organizationally for Palestinian human right.
The Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East e.V. resolutely rejects the political ban on the activities of well-known Palestinian women’s rights activist Rasmea Odeh. On 15 March 2019, the Berlin Senate Administration announced that Ms. Odeh’s Schengen visa would be cancelled, that she was banned from speaking, that she was barred from political activity and that she must leave Germany. Rasmea Odeh was scheduled to speak about Palestinian women political prisoners and their fight for peace.
We are angered by the involvement of Berlin authorities in the political persecution of Rasmea Odeh and consider it alarming. In fact, every person in Berlin and beyond, who cares about civil rights and freedoms, should be alarmed. Because this decision must be seen in the context of anti-democratic movements and shrinking civil and democratic free spaces, as we see in Germany and around the world. The Berlin Seanate justifies its decision by stating that “(…) substantial interests of the Federal Republic of Germany are impaired or endangered.” Rasmea Odeh is a threat to Germany or to people living in Germany?! That is absurd. Rasmea has been involved in public work and human rights activism for women and immigrants for more than four decades.
The Israeli military court that convicted Odeh in 1970 is not a legitimate court. United Nations human rights experts have acknowledged that the Israeli military courts, whose conviction rate is 99 percent, are not based on rules of justice. The Israeli human rights information center B’Tselem explains, “While these courts uphold the illusion of priper jurisdiction, they disguise the most damaging aspects of the occupation.”
We live in dangerous times when public opinion is easy to manipulate. The Berlin authorities refer to Rasmea as a “convicted terrorist,” referring exclusively to the “conviction” of an illegitimate court, where all the prosecutors and judges are Israeli soldiers in uniform and all the defendants are Palestinian civilians under occupation. Rasmea’s “confession” was extracted under torture.
We resolutely reject these manipulative and false allegations of anti-Semitism. There is no evidence of anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish utterances or actions by Rasmea Odeh. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that anti-Semitism charges are repeatedly used – that is, abused – to silence critics of Israeli policies and defenders of Palestinian human rights.
We call on the Berlin authorities to stop targeting Palestinian human rights advocates and other individuals or organizations that speak out for human rights for Palestinians for political persecution.
We call on the Berlin authorities not to participate any longer in the political persecution targeting Palestinian human rights defenders who express themselves individually or as organizations for human rights for Palestinians.
We express our solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners and with all those who have lived through Israeli prisons. We wholeheartedly support them in telling their stories, being heard, and experiencing truth and justice.
Jewish AntiFa Berlin – Facebook
A gag order was imposed on Odeh, preventing her from speaking in public and facing the threat of deportation based on her support for the Palestinian struggle, justified on the grounds that support for BDS is anti-Semitic. This sets a dangerous precedent that has implications for all of us non-EU residents in Germany: speak up and you may face deportation. It is our obligation to raise our voices against this, and against the Israeli meddling in local German politics that brought on this situation, because we might be next.
Fronte Palestina – Milan – Website
Solidarity with Rasmea Odeh and all Palestinian strugglers!
Rasmea Odeh is a Palestinian who has always been a symbol of resistance. Arrested, tortured and raped by Zionist forces, she was sentenced to life imprisonment after being accused of taking part in an armed action. She was later released through a prisoner exchange and lived for many years in the United States while continuing to be active in movements for justice for the Palestinian people…Her U.S. citizenship that she obtained was taken away in a later attack and she was deportd, another action by the United States as the leading partner in Zionist crimes against the Palestinian people.
On 15 March 2019, she was in Berlin to participate in an event organized around International Women’s Day. Following numerous vile attacks in the German media, supported by the ambassadors of Israel and the United States in Germany, the authorities of Berlin sent hundreds of policemen to the site where the event was to be held, where Rasmea was stopped and detained….in a long document, they told her that her visa had been canceled. They also tried to convince her to sign a document in German, which Rasmea obviously refused to sign.
Rasmea has been labeled a “terrorist” because she has been condemned by a Zionist military court following many tortures, including sexual violence, as has been widely reported since 1977. Now she risks the loss of a Schengen visa for a previously approved period of one year, and she was also forbidden to participate in a political event in Germany.
We denounce the complicity of the German government and ask that Rasmea can travel freely in Europe to tell her own story.
Fronte Palestina – Milan
Redfish – Facebook
Israel claims credit for Germany’s attack on freedom of speech.
An orchestrated offensive was launched against Palestinian activist and former prisoner Rasmea Odeh the moment she landed in Berlin.
Odeh was surrounded by police, handed a document from the Berlin Senate and ordered to evacuate the area around the venue where she was scheduled to speak. She was told her visa was cancelled and banned from political activity in the country. Long after Rasmea had left the area, police continued following and harassing her.
The Senate document claimed the event would damage the German-Israeli relationship and labelled the BDS Berlin group as an “anti-Semitic coalition.”
This ruling sets a dangerous precedent for even deeper repression of Palestinians in Germany and those in solidarity with their struggle for justice and equality.
“We follow the example of Rasmea Odeh when we stand up and fight back!”
– Angela Davis
Secours Rouge – Website
Rasmea Odeh…was expected at an event in Berlin to talk about Palestinian women in the struggle for liberation. When she arrived at the conference, the police were waiting for her to inform her of the cancellation of her visa and the prohibition of her political activity…
This procedure is the result of the pro-Israeli lobby led by the Israeli and American ambassador to Germany, backed by AfD (far-right party), politician Volker Beck (from the Green Party in Germany) and the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller (SPD).
Netherlands Palestine Committee
It is utterly unfair that authorities all over the world keep hunting on Rasmea Odeh.
We wish her all the best.
MPPM Portugal – Website
Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh prevented from speaking in Berlin and expelled from Germany by Israeli pressure
Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh has been barred from speaking at a Berlin event on Palestinian women in the struggle for liberation and will be expelled from Germany.
After an intense campaign by pro-Israel journalists, the Israeli ambassador and the United States ambassador to Germany (known for their links to far-right groups), and in which supporters of the far-right AfD party in Germany participated, the Berlin authorities stated on the night of Friday, 15 March that Rasmea Odeh was banned from political activity and that her visa would be canceled, implying her expulsion from the country.
Rasmea Odeh was planned to speak at an event taking place at a cultural center in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. In the days before the event the room where he was going to speak was attacked and vandalized and the staff received threatening phone calls.
Israel not only does not hide, but actually boasts of its activities of pressure and interference. Gilad Erdan, the Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs – whose mission is precisely to combat growing solidarity with the Palestinian people – issued a statement saying that the German decision was made thanks to pressure from him and “a number of Jewish organizations in Germany, as well as protests by the Israeli ambassador to Germany.”
The declarations of the Berlin politicians, who deliberately confuse the defense of the rights of the Palestinians and the criticism of the Israeli policy with anti-Semitism, are deplorable. Social Democrat Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s interior minister, who took the decision to ban Odeh’s speech and for her expulsion, said that freedom of opinion is a high value, but that “you cross a red line if it is used against the state of Israel and against Jews.” The city’s mayor, Social Democrat Michael Müller, tuned in the same pitch, stating that “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic resentments, packed in the rhetoric of liberation, have no place” in Berlin and expressed satisfaction of having found a way to stop this event.
And yet, if there is anything that the story of Rasmea Odeh illustrates well, it is the systematic, ongoing violence of various types to which the Palestinian people has been and continues to be subjected.
Rasmea Odeh was an infant when her family had to flee their home in Lifta, a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. In February 1948 – that is, several months before independence and the war that Israel invokes as a pretext for its ethnic cleansing campaign – Zionist forces destroyed Lifta and expelled its residents as part of their strategy to take control of Jerusalem. Rasmea grew up as a refugee in Ramallah, in the West Bank, and witnessed her occupation by the Israeli army in 1967.
When she was 21 years old, in 1969, Rasmea was arrested at midnight by Israeli soldiers. She was tortured for twenty-five days, having been beaten from head to foot with clubs and metal bars; has been subjected to electric shocks, including in the genitals and breasts, after being forced to see a prisoner tortured in this manner. Despite the tortures, she resisted until they brought her father and threatened to force him to rape her. Only then did Rasmea sign a “confession” stating that he had helped organize two explosions in West Jerusalem, in which two Israeli civilians died. Even after that, her torturers raped her with a wooden club.
A month later, Rasmea rejected the “confession” before the Israeli military court because it was obtained as a result of torture. But the court overruled it and sentenced her to life imprisonment.
She would eventually be released in 1979, along with seventy-five other Palestinians, in a prisoner exchange. She later lived in Lebanon and Jordan, and in 1994 she emigrated to the United States, where her brother and father lived, both citizens of that country. Accused by immigration authorities of having made false statements in her application for naturalization, and after a trial in which the courts upheld the ‘evidence’ obtained by the Israeli torturers, she was deported to Jordan in 2017.
Rasmea Odeh should not be prevented from making known her terrible ordeal and the struggle of the women and the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation.
The case of the ban on Rasmea Odeh speaking in Berlin is only the latest in a long series of cases and should serve as a serious alert. It is unacceptable that, under the unfounded but increasingly frequent accusation of anti-Semitism, attempts should be made to curtail freedom of expression, criticism of Israel’s criminal policy toward the Palestinians, and solidarity with the legitimate national liberation cause of the Palestinian people.
Monday, March 18, 2019 – 01:56
Mundo Obrero (Spain) – Website
On March 15, the German authorities banned in Berlin a speech that was to be delivered in the German capital by former Palestinian prisoner Rasmea Odeh, a renowned activist for the liberation of Palestinian political prisoners, who suffered from rape, torture, detention and deportation.
In addition to prohibiting her speech, forcing her to move away from the center where the meeting was to take place and follow her for kilometers, her visa was canceled. The organizers denounce this prohibition as an attack against the Palestinian people, noting that the German authorities respond like this to a harsh campaign of harassment on the part of the ambassadors of Israel and the United States in Germany and of the pro-apartheid press that accuses Odeh of “anti-Semitism” and even “terrorism”. It also coincides with the demands of the followers of the extreme right-wing AfD (Alternative for Germany) party, which includes racists, anti-Muslims and Holocaust revisionists, who demanded that her visa be revoked.
Hundreds of police surrounded the place, in the presence of around 15 Zionist counter-demonstrators carrying Israeli flags. This is yet one more way to prevent her speech from being heard. The organizers have provided the following email to collect statements of support for Rasmea Odeh: firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression strongly supports Rasmea Odeh’s right to speak in Berlin about the Palestinian liberation struggle. We stand with the many other organizations who condemn the German, Israeli, and U.S. governments’ attacks on Rasmea and their attempts to silence her by revoking her visa and prohibiting her from political activity.
The actions of these governments blatantly reflect their racist anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim views. But we want to draw attention to the underlying reason for their targeting of Rasmea. The attack on her right to speak is deeply tied to U.S. and German support for the Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism in Palestine. Moreover, the attack on Rasmea reflects these countries’ imperialist strategies for control of the Middle East. By the same token, these governments are clearly acting out of fear – fear that when Palestinian women and activists like Rasmea speak up, it chips away at such countries’ grasp on Palestine and the surrounding region.
The attacks on Rasmea and Palestine also relate to political repression taking place across the globe. Germany, the U.S., and Israel are attempting to silence Rasmea for the same fundamental reasons that the Duterte government has murdered and attacked activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines; that the U.S. government is trying to forcibly install a new government in Venezuela; and that the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group is surveilling and harassing leaders and activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. The imperialists who are in power are clearly afraid that people like Rasmea might inspire others to rise up and fight back against the racist and oppressive system in place.
We want to send a message to these imperialist powers, to say that fighting back is exactly what we plan to do. It is imperative that we fight back against this unjust system that tries to silence Palestinian women like Rasmea. We demand that Rasmea Odeh be permitted to speak in Germany, and we demand an end to state repression against all Muslim women, and all Palestinians who have boldly raised their voices against the imperialist and colonialist powers that are oppressing people across the world. Activists are not terrorists! We stand in solidarity with Rasmea and all Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.
Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Condemn the attack by German authorities on Rasmea Odeh
By Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Freedom Road Socialist Organization sharply condemns the decision by German authorities to prevent the respected Palestinian leader Rasmea Odeh from speaking in Berlin, March 15. According to reports we have reviewed, German police accosted Rasmea outside the hall where she was scheduled to appear, surrounded the venue with hundreds of cops, and handed her documents that canceled her visa. Police then followed Rasmea, demanding she go to another part of the city, and harassed her as she did so.
These acts of political repression were preceded by a noisy campaign by the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors and the right-wing media against Rasmea’s appearance in Germany. This repression should be opposed by everyone who cares about justice and democratic rights.
Rasmea Odeh was a long-time leader of the Palestinian American community in Chicago, until she was arrested on trumped-up charges, stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported. Rasmea had done nothing wrong. Her real ‘crime’ in the eyes of the U.S. government was her commitment to ending the Zionist occupation of Palestine.
Rasmea is in fact is a hero whose lifetime of struggle embodies the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people. Freedom Road Socialist Organization has worked tirelessly in the past to oppose any act of repression against Rasmea and we will continue to do so now.
The forces of reaction who want to criminalize those who embrace Palestine’s freedom are doomed to failure. Support for Israel is waning. The Palestinian liberation forces, along with a growing camp of resistance in the Middle East, are growing stronger.
Let Rasmea speak her mind!
End U.S. support for Israel!
Freedom for all of Palestine!
Communist Workers League
Communist Workers League statement in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh after being banned from speaking in Germany
Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian activist, freedom fighter and former political prisoner, was recently banned from carrying out a speaking engagement in Germany and ordered to leave the European country. We, as the Communist Workers League (CWL) operating inside the United States, object strongly to the decision to deny this woman the right to address an audience concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people, circumstances which are shared with other struggling oppressed nations throughout the world.
Rasmea was deported from the U.S. in 2017 after waging a valiant legal and political campaign to defeat the charges and later conviction by the federal courts. The treatment of this longtime organizer is reflective of the hostility by successive administrations in Washington to suppress the national liberation movement of the Palestinians for self-determination and independent nationhood against the Israeli settler-colonial regime backed by U.S. state and capitalist system.
During her years of tenure inside the U.S., where she gained permanent resident status and “citizenship,” Rasmea played an important role in Chicago where she assisted countless Arab women in their efforts to gain civil and human rights within a racist society. It was this work which so inflamed the system that they embarked upon a propaganda and prosecutorial campaign designed to vilify her image and important community work.
After being convicted on flimsy evidence by a federal court judge in Detroit, she served several months in a detention facility. Later, based upon the fundamental violations of due process, she was granted the right to appeal her case and released from jail.
Rather than retry the case based on the initial charges, the U.S. Attorneys filed additional claims against Rasmea. As a result of the current political atmosphere in the U.S., she chose to voluntarily leave the country and return to the Middle East.
Our organization stands in complete solidarity with Rasmea and the Palestine nation as a whole. We recognize that the role of the Israeli state is designed to provide a base for U.S. imperialist hegemony in the region.
Therefore, we support efforts by the solidarity movement with Palestine worldwide. We are committed to continuing our work with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns and all other political and cultural work which will contribute to the realization of the aspirations of the Palestinian people. We insist upon the right of the Palestinian people to be heard and understood.
We are going to maintain our strides alongside the Palestinian and all other oppressed peoples around the globe. Rasmea is loved by the genuine adherents to freedom and justice inside the U.S. and internationally.
Communist Workers League
Struggle – La Lucha
The delegates to the Unity for Socialism and Revolution conference, called by the publication Struggle-La Lucha, voted unanimously to express solidarity with Palestinian liberation leader Rasmea Odeh and condemn the revocation of her visa by the German government.
The German government’s actions, at the urging of the local fascist AfD Party, has prevented Odeh from speaking. The conference statement demands an end to police harassment of Odeh and other Palestinian leaders, and stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Furthermore, the conference statement rejects any attempts to silence this crucial struggle or equate it to anti-Semitism. Rasmea Odeh’s right to struggle in support of her people must not be compromised. The Palestinian people have the right to speak out against the Israeli settler colonial state and its apartheid policies.
Frank Chapman, Field Organizer, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Statement from Frank Chapman, Field Organizer of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression:
Rasmea Odeh, an historic figure in the Palestine national movement, is being threatened by German authorities with denial of her right to speak in Germany, as well as attempting to take away her visa.
The Chicago Alliance once again expresses our complete solidarity with our dear sister, Rasmea, and with her beloved Palestine. For a number of years, the Alliance and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network marched together to defend Rasmea from the political trial that she was subjected to by the U.S. Dept. of Justice; and the Palestinian organizations that Rasmea helped to lead marched together with the Black community in Chicago in our struggle for an end to police crimes by calling for community control of the police.
In 2014, I saw the Palestinian people in Ferguson, Missouri, expressing their solidarity with Black people there who had risen up to demand justice for Mike Brown, the innocent young Black man who was slain by a white police officer. That uprising reignited the Black liberation movement in the U.S.
I said then and I say again today that Black people and Palestinians have a future together. In Chicago, we face a police department that occupies our communities, as Palestinians are occupied by the Israeli military. Hundreds of Blacks and Latinos in Chicago were tortured by cops into confessing to crimes they did not commit, just as Rasmea was tortured in 1969 into such a confession. The Palestinian people are fighting for their liberation since their land was taken from them in 1948. Black people have been fighting for our liberation since we were stolen from Africa centuries ago.
Let Rasmea speak!
Workers World Party – Website
In solidarity with Rasmea Odeh and the Palestinian people
Workers World Party Statement
Workers World Party strongly protests that Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian activist, freedom fighter and former political prisoner, was recently banned from participating in a speaking engagement in Germany and was ordered to leave the country.
Under pressure from Israel, the German government revoked Odeh’s visa after she was scheduled to speak on “Palestinian women in the liberation struggle” at an International Women’s Day event in Berlin.
This action is a violation of her right to speak openly and honestly about the Palestinian people’s struggle for freedom and justice. Germany’s actions also violate the rights of Odeh’s audience to learn from her experiences and those of her compatriots.
Rasmea was deported from the U.S. in 2017 after waging a long, arduous legal and political campaign against thoroughly biased charges; she was eventually convicted by equally biased federal courts.
Her treatment reveals the hostility of past and present U.S. administrations, regardless of political party, which deny the Palestinians’ right to fight for self-determination and nationhood against the Israeli settler-colonial regime. This regime has, ever since its founding, been supported, politically and militarily, by U.S. imperialism.
During the many decades Odeh lived in the U.S., with permanent resident status and so-called citizenship, she helped hundreds of Arab women in her Chicago community gain civil, social and human rights in this racist country. So incensed were the Chicago power brokers by her prominence in the Arab community that they opened a campaign to stop her meaningful and heartfelt community work.
After being convicted on fraudulent evidence by a federal court judge in Detroit, Odeh served several months in jail and was eventually released. Rather than retry the original case, the U.S. proceeded to pile new charges onto Odeh
Not wanting to endure a repeat of this judicial charade, given the biased political position of the current administration against Palestine, Rasmea chose to leave the United States voluntarily and return to the Middle East.
Workers World Party stands firmly in solidarity with Rasmea and the Palestinian nation, wherever Palestinians live. WWP has always explained and exposed the role of the Israeli state, from its illegal, criminal founding to its position as a junior partner aiding U.S. imperialist hegemony in West Asia.
We unequivocally support the global solidarity movement with Palestine. We encourage all political, social and cultural work, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, aligned with the struggle of the Palestinian people for their sovereign ancestral right to the land of their forebears.
Workers World Party stands with Rasmea Odeh and against all who attempt to stop her from telling the truth about Palestine. Rasmea is dear to all hearts that beat for freedom and justice in the U.S. and around the world.
Within Our Lifetime | United for Palestine – Facebook
This is how afraid israel is of Rasmea Odeh speaking out about the cause of Palestinian political prisoners. We stand by Rasmea and join Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and all supporters of Palestine in demanding an END to the ongoing harassment, repression and criminalization of her political activities by the israeli government and its allies. 🇵🇸🗝⏳
“Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh was banned from speaking at a public meeting marking International Women’s Day in Berlin on Friday after German officials revoked her visa. The event was titled “Palestinian Women in the Liberation Struggle.” The Israeli government claimed credit for the action. According to the newspaper Haaretz, strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan issued a statement saying the German decision came after pressure applied by him and “a slew of Jewish organizations in Germany, as well as protest by the Israeli ambassador in Germany.”