Jüdische Stimme demand the right of free speech for Rasmea Odeh in Berlin

We demand that the Berlin authorities refrain in future from joining the political persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders, and of individuals and organizations who speak out for human rights for Palestinians.

Jüdische Stimme rejects the political persecution of Rasmea Odeh, a well-known Palestinian women’s rights and civic liberties activist. On March 15, 2019, Berlin authorities announced that had canceled Rasmea’s Schengen visa and prohibited her from speaking at a public Event and from engaging in any political activity in Berlin. Rasmea was due to speak about the role of Palestinian women political prisoners in the Palestinian struggle for freedom.

We are incensed at the complicity of the Berlin authorities in the political persecution of Rasmea and believe this should alarm each and every person concerned with civil rights and freedom in Berlin and beyond. This act is to be understood in the context of anti-democratic trends and of closing civic and democratic space in Germany and internationally. The Berlin Senate for Interior Affairs based its decision on the “threat” presented by Rasmea to Germany and/or the people Living in Germany. This is absurd. Rasmeah has dedicated over four decades to public work and human rights activism for women and immigrant communities.

The Israeli military court, which convicted Odeh in 1970, is not a legitimate court. United Nations human rights experts have determined that the Israeli military court – which has a conviction rate of 99% – does not deliver justice. The Israeli human rights information center B’Tselem explains that “while the courts offer an illusion of proper judicial conduct, they mask one of the most injurious apparatuses of the occupation.”

We live in dangerous times, when public opinion is easily manipulated. Berlin authorities refer to Rasmea as a “convicted terrorist” solely based on a conviction by an illegitimate court, where prosecutors and judges are all Israeli soldiers in uniform, and defendants are Palestinian civilians under occupation. Rasmea’s “confession” was obtained under torture.

We reject these manipulative and false accusations of anti-Semitism. There is no evidence of even a single anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish statement or act committed by Rasmea. There is however plenty of evidence that accusations of anti-Semitism are repeatedly used manipulatively to silence critics of Israel and defenders of Palestinian human rights.

We demand that the Berlin authorities reverse their decision and allow Rasmea Odeh to
speak in Berlin. Rasmea has the right to speak and Berliners have the right to listen.

We demand that the Berlin authorities refrain in future from joining the political persecution of Palestinian human rights defenders, and of individuals and organizations who speak out for human rights for Palestinians.

We stand in solidarity with Palestinian women political prisoners and those who have been held in Israeli prisons, and we wholeheartedly support their right to tell their story, to be heard, and to seek truth and justice.