Tag Archives: Palestine
Three weeks before the April 15 deadline to file federal tax returns, the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), a national education and advocacy organization based in Palos Hills, IL, has placed electronic billboards asking the question: “Have you declared Israel a dependent on your tax returns?” The ad, which ran last year in Washington DC, says Americans are “sweating April 15 so Israelis don’t have to,” and calls for an end to U.S. aid to the Israeli occupation. In Chicago, the ads can be seen on digital billboards at I-294 and 95th Street and I-294 and Southwest Highway through April 19.
In a trial that Judge Drain declared was “not political,” Rasmea Odeh was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison, a $1,000 fine, immediate revocation of her citizenship, and deportation to Jordan after serving jail time. Odeh was released on bond pending appeal. As Odeh said in her statement at the hearing, “every time I try to build my life up, something comes along that puts me back to zero.”
On Thursday, four days after International Women’s Day, Rasmea Odeh will be sentenced in a Detroit court. This will be one of the final stages of a year and a half government vendetta against an award winning and loved leader of the Arab, Palestinian, and immigrant community in Chicago. Like Dr. Sami Al-Arian, the Palestinian professor and activist recently deported to Turkey, Odeh’s effectiveness in organizing for Palestinian civil rights brought her to the attention of a vindictive Justice Department.
The Chicago Faith Coalition launched the “Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child” campaign on October 16, 2014 at Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park. Gerard Horton of Military Court Watch, an organization that monitors treatment of children in Israeli military detention, described the harsh treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli military authorities including middle of the night arrests, long interrogations, and harsh sentences in prisons far from their families. Salwa Duaibis of the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling spoke of the negative psychological impact of night raids and detention of children on those arrested and their families. Both indicated that 8,000 Palestinian children have been victims of these policies since 2000.
By Adeeba M.
On Tuesday, February 3rd, Students for Justice in Palestine’s (SJP) Chicago network successfully hosted a fundraising dinner for Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh at DePaul University. The event had an overwhelming turnout despite the snow, security issues, and threats from opposition groups. More than 200 guests packed the Student Center’s largest venue to support Rasmea in her current legal case.
For the past week, the television has blared fierce conversations full of provocative labels that have been circling like sharks for the past year – “Extremists,” “Islamists,” “Jihadis,” “terrorists”, “anti-Semites,” ”ISIS supporters,” “murderers,” and “victims.” It was really not until last Wednesday, January 7th, when all of these words suddenly landed together, crashing into a multi-media debate on the spread of militant Islam and the virtues of freedom of speech and the extremists who seek to demolish it.
“Odeh doesn’t have ties to the Chicago community. She has apparently done good work at the Arab American Action Network, but that work is not a substantial tie to the community. She could do this in another country.” With those words, U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain wiped away Rasmea Odeh’s 20 years of work in Chicago being an advocate for Arab and Muslim women’s rights. The twenty Arab and Muslim women sitting in the front rows who had come to court as representatives of Odeh’s 600 member women’s group were erased as if they did not exist. This statement was only one of many that demonstrated Judge Drain’s disdain for Odeh’s position as a well-loved Palestinian community leader and organizer in Chicago.
A 67 year-old award-winning leader of the Arab and Palestinian immigrant community who came here 20 years ago; developed programs supporting women’s rights; has never been arrested or charged with a crime in the U.S.; is indicted for allegedly “lying” on her citizenship application about being convicted by a military court using a confession obtained through torture and sexual assault. Now try to imagine this scenario happening if this remarkable woman was from Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Russia, China, or any other country with whom the U.S. has less than friendly relations. But in this case, she is Palestinian and the country where her rights to a fair trial, as a prisoner, and as a woman to be free from abuse were violated – was Israel.
In a strange turn of events, prosecutors have accused the Rasmea Defense Committee, all of Odeh supporters, and the leader of a prominent Arab-American social services group of “jury tampering” and “almost certainly criminal” behavior by showing their support for a leader in the Chicago Palestinian community who has come under discriminatory indictment. The prosecution’s solution? Tamper with any jury that might be selected by demanding the jury remain “anonymous” so that they can be prejudiced to believe Odeh is a dangerous terrorist.
In the controversial firing of Professor Steven Salaita by the University of Illinois, the behavior of the Chancellor Phyllis Wise, Board of Trustees Chair Chris Kennedy, and others have been the subject of numerous reports in the media. Escaping notice through all of this is a member of the Board who has been involved in cases that have violated the rights of Palestinian-Americans – former U.S. Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald.