Opinion: Standing up for Rasmea Odeh will not help the left

Posted on Apr 26 2017 - 7:59am by Matthew Dean
The U.S. Department of Justice recently offered activist Rasmea Odeh a plea deal. In exchange for receiving no jail time for the crime of immigration fraud, Odeh will have her U.S. citizenship stripped and will be deported to Jordan, her former country of residence.
In response to Odeh’s plea deal and impending deportation, Jezebel declared with a bold headline that “When You Come for Rasmea Odeh, You Come for All of Us,” and both Palestinian and feminist activists protested and chanted, “I stand with Rasmea!”
To understand why this is ridiculous, it’s important to know that immigration fraud is not the only crime of which Rasmea Odeh has been found guilty.
Odeh was born in British Palestine in either 1947 or 1948 and became a member of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is labeled as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
As a member of the PFLP, Odeh played a significant role in the 1965 bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket that killed two Israeli university students. Odeh was arrested in 1970 and convicted of her part in the bombing, though she was later part of a group of PFLP members who were freed in exchange for an Israeli soldier.
Ramsea Odeh then moved to Jordan, the country from which she came to the United States in the 1990s by lying about her criminal record in order to get in. Once in, she eventually became associate director of the Arab American Action Network, an organization that provides services to Arab-American and immigrant families in the Chicago area, and, more recently, she took part in organizing the A Day Without a Woman protest.
So when Jezebel states that “When You Come for Rasmea Odeh, You Come for All of Us” or when some upper-middle class Berkeley undergrad critical theorist chants, “I stand with Rasmea!” I have to wonder if these people are declaring themselves terrorists or just letting everyone know what big fools they are.
This woman served time in prison for taking part in a terrorist bombing.
Is this someone we want working with immigrants and representing the Chicago Muslim community? Is this someone we want walking free in this country?
The same people who clutched their pearls in outrage when Donald Trump boasted he could shoot someone and not lose any votes are the same people defending a person who actually did play a part in killing innocent people.
Is this what the modern left in America has come to – protesting the deportation of a convicted terrorist?
If the losing left wants to get back ahead, it’s got to stop jumping behind every buzzword-shouting activist who owns a megaphone. The political climate of America has become quite volatile, and a really good move by Democrats could be enough to win over independent voters who will be necessary in upcoming elections. Standing up for Rasmea Odeh is not a good move.
Why would I, an independent, want to associate with a political movement that defends a convicted – not alleged – terrorist? Would you buy a new car just to let the ghost of Ted Kennedy be your chauffeur?
Matthew Dean is a junior criminal justice major from Possumneck.