Germany Deports Palestinian Convicted of Terror, Cancels BDS Event at Israel's Request

Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted for her part in a 1969 bombing that killed two Israeli students, was scheduled to speak at the Berlin event

Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh stands outside the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse for a final court hearing before she's eventually deported, Detroit, Chicago, August 17, 2017.
Carlos Osorio/AP

Germany announced Saturday it would revoke the visa of a Palestinian woman convicted on terrorism charges in Israel, preventing her participation in a cultural event in Berlin organized by a group that supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The Israeli Embassy in Germany, in cooperation with the Strategic Affairs Ministry, has acted over the last few days to block Rasmea Odeh from taking part in a protest event in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood. The event, titled "Palestinian Women in the Liberation Struggle," was scheduled for Saturday night.

Odeh, a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was involved in a bombing attack in Jerusalem that killed two Israeli students in 1969. She was released by Israel in 1979 as part of a prisoner exchange. Odeh later moved to the United States and was deported to Jordan in 2017 after it was discovered she hid her conviction from immigration authorities.

Following Israel's demand to bar the event, which was bolstered by a public campaign, the Berlin municipality announced it was cancelling the event and prohibited Odeh from partaking in "any political activity" until she is deported back to Jordan.

The event's website shows that Dareen Tatour, the Palestinian poet convicted and jailed for incitement over her posts on social media, was also slated to appear.

Berlin Mayor Michael Müller welcomed the decision, saying the German capital is a "cosmopolitan and tolerant city that does not give room to extremist propaganda. Anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic arguments wrapped in liberation rhetoric have no place here. I'm glad we found a way to stop this incitement."

Dareen Tatour laughs during an interview at her house in northern Israel.
\ AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan issued a statement saying the decision was made thanks to pressure applied by him and "a slew of Jewish organizations in Germany, as well as protest by the Israeli ambassador in Germany."

Erdan called upon other European countries to adopt a "zero tolerance attitude to terrorists disguising themselves as human rights activists." Last month, the ministry published a report titled "Terrorists in Suits," which marked 20 people convicted of terror activities, primarily from the PFLP, who are currently active in various organizations that support BDS.

"We were appalled by the thought that a Palestinian terrorist guilty of killing two students from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem was invited to speak in Berlin, a city of tolerance, a city that symbolizes freedom and one that actively fights anti-Semitism," Jeremy Issacharoff‎, Israel's ambassador to Germany, told Haaretz on Saturday.

Issacharoff‎ welcomed the decision and said German authorities "set a clear red line here against incitement and the glorification of terror."