On November 4, 67-year-old Rasmea Odeh stepped foot in Federal Court in Detroit to fight for her freedom.
On October 22, 2013, Homeland Security agents entered Odeh’s home in Chicago and arrested her on charges of “unlawful procurement of naturalization” and she’s now facing ten years in jail and deportation. Although Odeh has been an American citizen for 10 years, she is just now being arrested for false answers on her naturalization application.
Immigration authorities are threatening Odeh’s citizenship because the state is afraid of the progressive international movement to end apartheid in Israel, the genocide and displacement of Palestinians, and Israel’s violation of international laws.
Rasmea Yousef Odeh was criminalized by the Israeli court in 1969 when Israeli defense forces sexually and physically tortured her in front of her father who fainted at the sight of the torture and after being told by Israeli forces to rape his own daughter. She eventually gave in to the torture and forcefully signed a confession that gave her a life sentence. Ten years later, Odeh was released and later, moved to America where she became a prominent figure in the Palestinian movement.
This is a clear act of repression against Palestinian political leaders and the movement for justice in Palestine. This act is reminiscent of FBI’s waging of the COINTELPRO against the Black Panther Party – a revolutionary group that sought the liberation of the Black Nation –, and the state’s crackdown on Puerto Rican revolutionaries in Chicago which forced many of these activists to go underground.
State repression has been used many times to prevent the rise of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movements.
Rasmea’s judge and prosecutors have histories of anti-Palestine work and they were specifically chosen to ensure that Rasmea is convicted. The case is being tried in federal court instead of immigration court where most cases like this are held. Rasmea was denied many pre-trial motions such as the mentioning of the torture she endured at the hands of Israeli soldiers.
The court system is an institution within the superstructure that ensures the protection of the ruling class’ interests. These includes the U.S. involvement in the occupation of Palestine by U.S. military and political ally, Israel. The U.S. aids the Israeli militarily with over $3 billion annually.
The occupation of Palestine by Israeli military aims to completely displace Palestinians in order to have a completely Jewish state. The attacks on Gaza and the West Bank in the recent months are proof the barbarity and impunity in which the Israeli state carries out its slow genocide of the Palestinian people.
As internationalists who stand for the liberation of oppressed people, we support the liberation of Palestinians and their right to self-determination and their right to return to their homes which have been occupied by Israeli settlers.
As proletarian feminists, we condemn the sexual violence that Israel commits against Palestinian women as a form of state terrorism to scare the Palestinian people into submission. No women rights activists should stay silent in the face of this gross violation of women’s rights, and we exhort all women rights organization to raise their voice to condemn the U.S. imperialist government and the settler colonial Israeli state.
We also urge all immigrant rights activist to express their condemnation to the U.S. DHS arresting and processing a person who has been a U.S. citizen for 10 years. It goes to show that even as citizens we are not safe from the violence of the U.S. state if we organize against its imperialist interests and the genocidal interest of its allies.
Let’s join in one voice of condemnation. Let’s stand together in revolutionary anger at the face of injustice. Let our roar crumble the court room where they have locked up the defenders of the people.
Hands off Rasmea!!
Down with the U.S. and Israeli state!!