The Anti-War Committee condemns the politically-motivated attack on Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian community leader arrested in her Chicago home on October 22, by agents of the Department of Homeland Security.
She is charged with immigration fraud. Allegedly, in her application for citizenship, she didn’t mention that she was arrested in Palestine 45 years ago by an Israeli military court that detains Palestinians without charge – a court that has over 200 children in prison today and does not recognize the rights of Palestinians to due process. Rasmea Odeh overcame vicious torture by Israeli authorities while imprisoned in Palestine in the 70s. She is one of the millions of Palestinians who have not given up organizing for their rights to liberation, equality, and return. It is shameful that the US government is now attempting to imprison her once again.
Odeh’s arrest this week appears to be related to the case of the 23 anti-war activists, including members of the Anti-War Committee, who were subpoenaed to a grand jury in 2010. We were targeted as organizers of the 2008 anti-war march on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Undercover law enforcement agents spied on our committee and our movement allies for two years, sabotaged a 2009 solidarity trip to Palestine, and then the FBI raided our homes and offices, claiming that we had provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations in Palestine and Colombia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas is leading the investigation against us, and he was at the courtroom in Chicago, consulting with the assistant U.S. attorney who brought the indictment against Odeh. Jonas was also the prosecutor in the case of the Holy Land Five, the heads of the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. before 9/11. He was successful in getting prison sentences for as long as 65 years for the five men, who provided charity to children in Gaza.
The case against Odeh is not about immigration, but an attempt to silence her, to cut short her important community organizing, and to attack the struggle for a free Palestine. She has said, “War and occupation in our home countries leads to political and legislative attacks on us here. So we must advocate and organize within our community to affect change and make our voices heard.”
The Anti-War Committee stands with Rasmea Odeh, and against those who would silence and imprison her. This attack is another example of the continuing repression of Palestinians and people who stand in solidarity with them. Homeland Security, the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s office are carrying out enforcement of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. We ask all those who have stood with us against the government attack on our organizing, to stand with us today to support Rasmea Odeh.
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