New York Stands with Rasmea Odeh: ‘Supporting Palestine is not a crime! Hands off Rasmea!’ Picket at the Department of Homeland Security, October 20, 2014.
Photos by redguard
On October 22, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security arrested Palestinian-American feminist, activist, educator and community leader, Rasmea Odeh in her home for alleged immigration fraud as part of an ongoing witch-hunt that targets Arabs and Muslims who criticize U.S. and Israeli policy and labels them “terrorists.” Rasmea is facing trial on November 4, 2014
On October 21, 2014 the Federal Court in Detroit will determine the admissibility of “Israeli evidence” — evidence obtained under torture decades ago inside the prisons of the illegal, colonial, occupying Zionist power.This is not the first time that U.S. Federal prosecutors have used such evidence against Palestinian Americans.
Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 9am-5pm Eastern Time:
Call the prosecutors and tell them, ‘Drop the charges now!’
(1) Call Jonathan Tukel in Detroit at 313-226-9100
Chief of National Security Unit, U.S. Attorney’s office, Eastern District of Michigan
(2) Call Barbara McQuade at 313-226-9501
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan
When you call say, “Hello, my name is ________, and I am calling from _________ to demand that U.S. Attorney McQuade drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh.” (First name pronounced Russ-MEE-yuh)
Make the calls!
If you can be in Detroit on Oct. 21, join us at the Court Hearing for Rasmea Odeh
Oct. 21 - 10am - Picket line outside the court building
231 W Lafayette Boulevard, in Detroit
(Google map: http://goo.gl/IUwYdq)
By Scott Williams
The author is a national coordinator and organizer of FIST – Fight Imperialism, Stand Together.
October 17 - I am writing to let everyone know that the FBI visited my father today with the intention of questioning me about my trip to Syria as an international election observer for the 2014 Syrian Presidential Elections.
In June 2014, I visited Syria (link http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/06/05/syrian-people-elect-president-wide-margin-amid-insurgent-attacks/) with the objective of learning the truth about the situation there. This trip was entirely legal and well documented. I visited along with observers representing 32 countries, many of which were members of Parliament and representatives of local governments in countries such as Bolivia, Brazil, Uganda, and beyond. Since then, I have reported on my trip in public meetings at the United Nations, as well as in Buffalo, NY, Rochester, NY, Syracuse, NY, Albany, NY, and where I live in Philadelphia, PA.
Since 2007, I have been a committed anti-war activist with many organizations, including Students for a Democratic Society, the International Action Center and several others. The FBI mentioned me as an activist with FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together), of which I am one of the national coordinators.
Why is the FBI coming after me? The FBI’s attempt to question me is not only an attack on me, it is an attack on anyone who chooses to travel the world and seek a perspective that is not represented by the corporate media. The US depends on misinformation and huge lies to perpetrate their crimes abroad. Yet the FBI has picked the wrong person, since I have strong friends and allies across the US who will stand with me in the fight against unjust government repression.
This visit is a continuation of the FBI’s attack on anti-war and international solidarity activists. The FBI has been attempting to charge 24
anti-war and international solidarity activists with “material support of terrorism.” These activist are targeted because have been targeted and face potential long term jail sentences. Please take a moment to look at the (link http://www.stopfbi.net/) site for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the organization that has fought to defend these 24, as well as Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh. This is a
strong example of the political fightback that is needed to defend activists from Government repression.
These activists are not alone in their treatment. Since 2001, hundreds of Muslim men in the USA have been victims of entrapment, harassment, and false imprisonment simply for their religion.
Our country did not take a single minute to give a response to the international agencies requesting its support to combat the brutal epidemic outbreak in Western Africa.
This is what our country has always done, without excluding anyone. The Cuban Government had already given the relevant instructions to urgently mobilize and reinforce the medical personnel that were offering their services in that region of the Africa continent. An equally fast response was given to the United Nations, as it has always been the case in an event of a request for cooperation.
Any sensible person would know that the political decisions that entail some risk for the highly qualified staff involve a high level of responsibility from those who call on them to fulfill a risky task. This is something far more difficult than sending soldiers to fight and even die for a just political cause; and they also did so because they always thought it was their duty.
The medical staff that is ready to go to any region to save lives, even at the risk of losing their own, is the best example of solidarity that human beings can offer, particularly if they are not moved by any material interest. Their closest relatives are also contributing to that mission a part of what they love and admire the most. A country seasoned by long years of struggle can fully understand what is being expressed here.
We all understand that in fulfilling this task with maximum preparation and efficiency, we would also be protecting our people and the brother peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, by avoiding the spread of the virus, since it unfortunately has entered and could further spread in the United States, a country with so many personal links and exchanges with the rest of the world. We will gladly cooperate with the US staff in this endeavor, not in the pursuit of peace between the two States which have been adversaries for so many years, but, in any case, for world peace, which is a goal that could and should be pursued.
On Monday, October 20, at the request of several countries of the region, a meeting will be held in Havana, which will be attended by high authorities from these countries who have expressed the need to take all relevant steps to prevent the spread of the epidemic and combat it in a fast and effective way.
We, the Latin American and Caribbean peoples, will also be sending a message of support and struggle to all other peoples in the world.
The time of duty has come.
Fidel Castro Ruz
October 17, 2014
Monday, October 20 - Tuesday, October 21
26 Federal Plaza, Manhattan
New York will Rally in Solidarity with Rasmea the week of the 1 Year Anniversary of her arrest, & 1 day before her next hearing, to demand Justice!
Al-Awda-New York (Palestine Right to Return Coalition)
USPCN (US-Palestine Community Network)
CSFR (Committee to Stop FBI Repression)
CUNY Law Students for Justice in Palestine
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Labor for Palestine
New York City Labor Against the War
National Lawyers Guild, NYC Chapter
National Lawyers’s Guild, Free Palestine Committee
International Action Center
(Please send a message to either host to list your organization here).
On October 22, 2013 the Department of Homeland Security arrested Palestinian-American feminist, activist, educator and community leader, Rasmea Odeh in her home for alleged immigration fraud as part of an ongoing witch-hunt that targets Arabs and Muslims who criticize U.S. and Israeli policy and labels them “terrorists.”
On October 21 the Federal Court in Detroit will determine the Admissibility of “Israeli Evidence” — Evidence obtained Under Torture decades ago inside the prisons of the illegal, colonial, occupying Zionist power. …this is not the first time that U.S. Federal prosecutors have used such evidence against Palestinian Americans. (See the case of Muhammad Salah)
Rasmea Odeh has served as the associate director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) in Chicago since 2004. For the past 10 years, Rasmea has built unprecedented community support for close to 600 Arab immigrant women on issues related to English literacy, gender violence, inter-generational cultural conflicts, racial profiling, immigrant rights, and access to social and economic resources. She has established community-wide education projects related to civil and human rights, social justice, and community economic development and workshops that allow Arab immigrant women to tell, write, and perform their immigration stories while improving their writing skills. In 2013, Rasmea received the “Outstanding Community Leader Award” from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, which described her as a woman who has “dedicated over 40 years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women, first in her homes of Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon, where she was an activist, and then the past 10 years in Chicago.”
Rasmea has been demanding justice for Palestinians for most of her life. Like the experience of approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, she spent time as a political prisoner in Israeli jails in the 1970’s. There, she was violently tortured and humiliated— despite the international legal prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.
Like their Israeli ally, the U.S. federal government has a history of targeting individuals who express public support for Palestine and over and over, Palestinian and Arab American activists are disproportionately targeted in such cases. According to the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, their organization, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLC) in collaboration with the National Lawyers Guild and other organizations, “has documented over 75 cases of intimidation and legal bullying in 2013 alone. These include perceived surveillance, FBI contacts, and discriminatory enforcement of laws against advocates for Palestinian rights.” Now decades in the making, this U.S. government strategy targets Palestinian immigrants, Palestinian Americans, and their supporters in order to quell any and all support for Palestinian rights in the U.S. and globally. According to CCR and PSLC, it is no coincidence that federal prosecutors are now targeting Rasmea, who is a pillar in the same community where 23 anti-war and Palestinian rights activists, many who’s homes were raided by the FBI, were subpoenaed to testify before a Grand Jury in 2010. There have been no indictments against the 23 activists subpoenaed presumably because of a lack of evidence.
The U.S. government’s portrayal of Palestinians as violent and inhuman fuels the case against Rasmea and as a result, the U.S. mainstream betrays Palestinians like Rasmea, leaving them with little support. The corporate media makes matters worse. By telling the story of Rasmea’s past as though she was a possible terrorist legitimately and legally arrested by the Israeli government, the media covers up the truth that Israel occupies Palestinian land and arrests and tortures Palestinians systematically and illegally. The sensationalized media portrayal of Rasmea’s “terrorist past” dehumanizes Rasmea and justifies the ongoing state violence committed against her and the larger Arab American and Arab immigrant communities.
Brooklyn, New York: Ferguson to Palestine
Tuesday, October 21 - 7pm
Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew, 520 Clinton Ave., Brooklyn
Happening now: Massive protest in London as “Britain demands a raise,” October 18, 2014.