Rasmea Odeh

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Rasmea Odeh

Template:TOCnestleft Rasmea Yousef Odeh is the associate director of the Arab American Action Network, leader of that group's Arab Women's Committee and a former member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.[1]


On Friday, February 21st 1969, Edward Joffe, and his best friend, Leon Kanner, went to the supermarket Supersol at the intersection of Agron and Hamelech George in Jerusalem, to make some purchases for a botany department excursion in which they were to participate.

As they approached the meat counter, an explosive device, a biscuit can filled with 5 Kgm of dynamite, which had been placed by Rasmieh Odeh and Ayesha Oudeh, was detonated and Eddie and Leon were both instantly killed.

She only served 10 years of her life sentence before being part of a prisoner swap. She then moved to the US and became Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network, a group which does many things including trying to combat stereotypes of Arabs and is being called an “icon” and “pillar of her community” while hiding her past is awful.”[2]

HANA Center Honors Rasmea Odeh May 2017

Rasmea Odeh honored at NAKASEC-affiliated HANA Center May 2017.

The NAKASEC-affiliated HANA Center's Inaugural Fundraising Gala,[3] Root To Fruit: Rooted in community, growing together took place on May 5, 2017 in Skokie, IL. The Keynote Speaker was Bernarda Wong Founder and Former President, Chinese American Service League. Rasmea Odeh | Arab American Action Network was the Honoree and the Emcee was Peter Kim | Comedian, Actor, Writer.

Freedom Road connection


Rasmea Odeh has a long time connection to Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and later to Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!.

Freedom Road event

The 22nd, 2013 Annual People’s Thanksgiving Dinner, held in Chicago Dec. 8, honored her with the “Nelson Mandela Award: Opposing Israeli Apartheid is not a Crime.”

70 people gathered to recognize her and a number of other important activists. They met at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, despite an early blizzard that made getting to the church hazardous.

In presenting the award, Muhammad Sunkari of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network referred to the late leader of the national liberation movement in South Africa. “When Ted Koppel interviewed him after his release from prison, Mandela defended the ANC’s African National Congress ties to the Palestine Liberation Organization. He called the Palestinians, ‘comrades in arms.’ I would say that a great example of a comrade of Mandela is Rasmea Odeh.”

The event is held annually by Fight Back! news and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! . The dinner raised over $3000 for Odeh’s defense campaign, as well as $1000 to help continue the work of Fight Back! news.

Another emotional moment in the dinner was an award presented to Pete Camarata. Camarata was a co-founder of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union . His award, entitled the “Big Bill Haywood: Class Struggle Award” was presented to him by Richard Berg. Berg, a long time reformer in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), has known Camarata for 25 years.

The framed award, reading, “For his lifelong dedication to the liberation of the working class,” was accepted by Camarata’s stepson, Jackson Potter. Potter is the staff coordinator of the Chicago Teachers Union. He explained that Camarata couldn’t attend the dinner because he is fighting cancer.

A statement from Camarata read in part, “I thank FRSO for the award, and I accept it with the knowledge that my activism belongs to the movement and the brave people who built TDU, the movement in this country and around the world.”

Awards were also presented to Sarah Simmons and Newland Smith, both activists in the Anti-War Committee-Chicago and to Michael Sampson, a Dream Defender from Tallahassee, Florida.[4]

AAAN Board

Arab American Action Network staff, as of 2016;[5]

Women's March


In The Guardian Monday 6 February 2017, Linda Martín Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, Nancy Fraser, Barbara Ransby, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Rasmea Yousef Odeh, Angela Davis wrote;

Women of America: we're going on strike. Join us so Trump will see our power... The ‘lean-in’ variety of feminism won’t defeat this administration, but a mobilization of the 99% will. On 8 March we will take to the streets.
The massive women’s marches of 21 January may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle. But what exactly will be its focus? In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights....
Let us join together on 8 March to strike, walk out, march and demonstrate. Let us use the occasion of this international day of action to be done with lean-in feminism and to build in its place a feminism for the 99%, a grassroots, anti-capitalist feminism – a feminism in solidarity with working women, their families and their allies throughout the world.

Legal team

In 2017, Mike Deutsch, Jim Fennerty, lead the legal defense team for Rasmea Odeh.

Oscar Lopez Rivera connection

Rasmea Odeh embraces former prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera, at a rally in Chicago, on May 18, 2017. Lopez Rivera spent 35 years in a U.S. prison. He was "unjustly imprisoned for fighting for the independence of Puerto Rico, his homeland. Like him, Rasmea Odeh is up against repression - deportation by the U.S. government for her activism for a free Palestine.

Odeh said to him, “Wherever I land, I will continue my fight for Palestinian independence, and I will continue to support the independence of Puerto Rico.” The crowd of about 1000 people, mainly Puerto Rican, thundered support for their national hero. Lopez Rivera said in his remarks, "We never lost sight of our goal to decolonize Puerto Rico." He also stated, “I have struggled all my life against colonialism. Colonialism is a crime against humanity. Colonized people have the right to struggle for their liberation by any means necessary."[6]

International Women’s Day, 2018

Women from the national liberation struggles and the working class were honored at Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!’s annual event in Chicago, March 10 2018, to celebrate International Women’s Day. More than 60 activists heard about the Black liberation movement icons, Marion Stamps and Sylvia Woods.

Nesreen Hasan of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network spoke about and read a statement from Chicago’s beloved Palestinian community leader, Rasmea Odeh. Because of her years of dedication to Palestine, Rasmea was targeted by the U.S. government and deported last year to Jordan. She reported that her work for Palestine continues, and she expressed certainty in the victory of the cause.[7]