Berlin blocks appearance by convicted Palestinian terrorist
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Berlin blocks appearance by convicted Palestinian terrorist

BDS event in German capital called off after authorities cancel visa for speaker Rasmea Odeh, who spent 10 years in jail for deadly Jerusalem supermarket bombing

Rasmea Odeh stands outside the Theodore Levin US Courthouse in Detroit, on August 17, 2017, for a final court hearing before she was deported for concealing her convictions in two Jerusalem bombings. (Carlos Osorio/AP)
Rasmea Odeh stands outside the Theodore Levin US Courthouse in Detroit, on August 17, 2017, for a final court hearing before she was deported for concealing her convictions in two Jerusalem bombings. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

Berlin has blocked an appearance by convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who had been scheduled to speak at a conference on “Palestinian Women Fighting for Liberation.”

Following protests, the city’s department for interior affairs announced late Friday afternoon that they had barred Odeh from speaking in the city and cancelled her visa, on the grounds that the political activities of a non-citizen can be limited or prohibited if these activities break German law or endanger the peace.

The venue also has cancelled its rental for the event that was organized by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Odeh, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was found guilty in 1970 of participating in the 1969 murder of two Jewish students, Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe in an attack on a Jerusalem supermarket.

The co-organizers of the Berlin event were the Samidoun network of activists, affiliated with the PFLP and Hirak — the Palestinian Youth Movement, also tied to the PFLP.

The PFLP is designated by Israel, the US, the European Union and others as a terrorist organization.

Israel jailed Odeh for life for her role in the bombing, but she was released in a prisoner exchange with the PFLP in 1980 and immigrated to the United States. She has said her confession to the bombing was the result of severe torture by Israeli security forces.

Odeh obtained her US immigrant visa in 1994 and her citizenship in 2004. In both applications, she failed to disclose her arrest and convictions in the bombings. She pleaded guilty to falsifying her immigration applications and was deported to Jordan in September of last year.

Odeh served as the longtime associate director at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago before her deportation.

A planned protest against her appearance was to be held in Berlin despite the event’s cancellation, its organizer told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Odeh’s planned appearance had triggered a storm of protest among Jewish and political leaders. The Central Council of Jews in Germany had issued a statement condemning the invitation to Odeh.

Council president Josef Schuster told the Taz newspaper in Berlin that he was “appalled that a convicted Palestinian terrorist who killed and injured Israelis is permitted to appear in Berlin.”The public appearance of someone sentenced for murder, terrorism and immigration fraud “legitimizes anti-Semitism at a time when we should be condemning it,” US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell said in an interview with Fox News.

Also weighing in against Odeh’s appearance were Berlin’s mayor, Michael Müller, and Hellmut Königshaus, head of the German-Israel Society.

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