News & Politics

Women's March Convicted Terrorist Agrees to Be Deported in Exchange for No Jail Time

Women's March Convicted Terrorist Agrees to Be Deported in Exchange for No Jail Time
Rasmea Odeh listens to supporters after leaving federal court in Detroit in 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Convicted terrorist and Women’s March organizer Rasmea Yousef Odeh is scheduled to be deported after lying on her citizenship application, The Washington Times reported. Odeh, a Palestinian, agreed to be deported in exchange for no jail time after it emerged that she lied about having been convicted of Islamic terrorism.


Odeh is scheduled to appear in court April 25 in Detroit, where she plans to plead guilty to “unlawful procurement of naturalization” in a deal that will allow her to leave the United States to avoid up to 18 months in prison.

She had been scheduled to undergo another trial after a U.S. appeals court vacated her 2014 conviction, saying an expert witness should have been allowed to testify that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from allegedly being tortured in prison when she gave the false answers.

The 69-year-old Palestinian activist was convicted in the 1969 supermarket bombing in Israel that killed two Hebrew University students.

She served 10 years before being released in a prisoner exchange.

Her supporters said it would be “impossible for Rasmea to expect a fair trial in U.S. courts.”

According to the UK Daily Mail, Odeh was also one of several authors who penned an open letter in The Guardian calling on women across the U.S. to take part in “striking, marching, blocking roads” and other activities in a day of “grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism.”

Soon after the letter was published, the New York Post reported that Odeh had been convicted for her role in the two terrorist bombings. Here is a brief summary of the case against Odeh courtesy of Legal Insurrection’s Professor Jacobson: 


Rasmea claims she was not involved in the supermarket bombing, and was convicted only because she gave a false confession after 25 days of sexual torture. Previously, we have explored the factual conflicts in Rasmea’s story, including that she confessed the day after arrest, not 25 days later; bomb-making material was found in her room; she received an open trial observed by a representative of the International Red Cross who described the trial as fair; and perhaps most important, Rasmea’s co-conspirator, Ayesha Odeh (not related), described in a 2004 interview for a pro-Palestinian filmmaker how Rasmea was the mastermind behind the supermarket bombing.

After serving nearly a decade in prison, Rasmea was released in a prisoner release for an Israel soldier captured in Lebanon.

While she was imprisoned, the PFLP formed the “Rasmea Odeh Brigade” to try to free her and others by taking hostages, and Rasmea was on the list of prisoners whose release was sought by the Black September terrorists who took Israeli athletes hostage (and killed them) at the 1972 Olympics. Yet Rasmea claims she was not involved in terror organizations and was just an innocent political activist when arrested by the Israelis.Rasmea eventually made her way to the U.S. in the mid-1990s.

Rasmea gave false answers on her visa application, and in 2004 on her naturalization application, by denying (among other lies) that she EVER (bold and CAPS in original) was convicted or imprisoned.Rasmieh was convicted of immigration fraud in November 2014.


Jacobson told The Washington Times that Odeh’s decision to cop a plea deal was “no surprise.”

“She was convicted of immigration fraud in the first trial, and would have been convicted in the re-trial,” Mr. Jacobson said in an email. “Her new defense that PTSD caused her to falsely answer simple questions on her naturalization papers about past convictions and imprisonment was laughable. Rasmea and her supporters invented an alternate universe based on hatred of Israel, but alternate universes tend not to do very well in court when faced with real world evidence.”

Odeh was one of the organizers of the Women’s Strike on March 8, hailed as a day for women to “strike, walk out, march and demonstrate” in favor of a new “feminism for the 99%, a grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism.” The anti-Trump convicted terrorist has also been invited to speak at a Jewish conference being held in Chicago from March 31 to April 2.

Jewish Voice for Peace is honored to feature deeply respected Palestinian organizer Rasmea Odeh at our upcoming National Membership Meeting. The meeting will be a critical place for 1,000 JVP members to craft strategies to resist the right-wing extremism emboldened by the leadership of President Trump and his mirror in Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and to build community for the long haul.

In both Israel and the U.S. the accusation of terrorism is used to stoke fear, dehumanize whole communities, and violently repress, incarcerate, bomb, deport, spy on, invade and occupy those communities and their homelands. Trump’s Muslim Ban comes out of the context of decades of this Islamophobic “war-on-terror” rhetoric which mirrors Israel’s decades of demonizing Palestinians.

We are eager to hear from Odeh, a feminist leader in the Palestinian and Arab-American community in Chicago, precisely because she has survived decades of Israeli and US government persecution and oppression, and also because she lives and breathes the essential work of community organizing–having spent her life as both a lawyer and organizer for the empowerment of Arab women.


American-Israeli Adena Mark registered her disgust with the “perversely” named JVP for inviting the murderer of two young Jewish students to speak at their conference.

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