Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota condemns the charges brought against Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh of Chicago. Her October 22nd arrest by agents of the Department of Homeland Security can be seen as nothing less than an attempt to silence her voice decrying the oppression of and demanding justice for the people of Palestine. The charges brought against her claim that she failed to properly document an arrest 45 years ago by Israeli military authorities, which routinely deny Palestinians due process, legal rights, human rights and justice daily. This outrageous charge seeks to imprison her for up to ten years, strip her of American citizenship and ultimately deport her upon her release from prison.
This is undoubtedly a vicious political attack related to her longstanding activism on behalf of the cause of justice for the Palestinian people. This case is certainly related to those of fellow activists of the Anti-War 23. The Anti-War 23 were targeted in the wake of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota and included a focus on activists who had traveled to and supported Palestine. Similarly activist Carlos Montes, once a member of the East LA 13, was raided and charged on the basis of similarly outrageous offenses related to supposed incidents dating back over 30 years. This attempt to silence these outspoken activists fighting for justice at home and abroad have all failed.
This case like that of the Anti-War 23 and the case of Carlos Montes is not about the charges brought forth, but is directly related to the politics of those indicted. Students for a Democratic Society at the U of M recognizes that the same office of Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas attacked the humanitarian non-profit aid group of the Holy Land Foundation which resulted in the political imprisonment of the Holy Land 5. It is also from this same office that the political attack on the Anti-War 23 emerged. It is from this office that the repressive legal apparatus of the United States has reached out across the Midwest to attack people for their politics. And now the same office that has attacked the Holy Land 5 and the Anti-War 23 is attempting to silence Odeh for her longstanding support for her homeland, Palestine. SDS at the U of M stands in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh and will support her throughout her fight for justice. We demand that the U.S. Attorneys Office drop all the charges against Rasmea Odeh. We demand an end to all political repression and we demand an end to the occupation of Palestine.