By Dima Khalidi | This article originally appeared on The Hill
Rasmea Odeh is a sixty-seven year old Palestinian-American feminist, activist, educator and community leader who served as the associate director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) in Chicago since 2004. For over a decade, Rasmea built unprecedented community support for close to 600 Arab immigrant women; established community-wide education projects for Arab immigrant women; and received the “Outstanding Community Leader Award” from the Chicago Cultural Alliance in 2013. Earlier this year, on October 22, the Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea in her home for alleged immigration fraud. Many believe that her arrest is part of an ongoing witch-hunt that targets Arabs and Muslims who criticize U.S. and Israeli policy and labels them as “terrorists” because Rasmea has been demanding justice for Palestinians for most of her life. She, herself, spent time as a political prisoner in Israeli jails in the 1970’s where she was violently tortured and humiliated– despite the international legal prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.
Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, discusses the ramifications of Rasmeah Odeh’s recent guilty verdict in a four-day trial.