Will Rasmea Odeh follow Rabih Haddad?
Three members of JWPF traveled to Detroit for a rally to have apparently-politically-inspired criminal charges dropped against Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh, who spent ten years in an Israeli prison. This writer was reminded of similar protests in 2002 “demanding” – whatever that means – the release of Rabih Haddad, former Ann Arbor Imam, and personal acquaintance. The federal government didn’t blink in Rabih’s case and he was sadly deported after months of incarceration both in Michigan and Illinois.
A busload of activists from Chicago organized this protest, and only true “anti-Semites” like me would observe that none of the signs mentioned “Israel”, except for the ones I was holding. When JWPF member “L” shouted to the Homeland Security folks that they were working for the Jews and that they could end up in the same boat as Rasmea, she was cautioned by a Chicago activist that “that wasn’t our message”. Identifying Jewish power rarely is.
Ali Abunimah was also in attendance but the two of us failed to even make eye contact. This lack of personal recognition and respect is probably best explained by my critical comments of him in the vigil reports of 03-10-12 and 11-03-12. And this lack of recognition, though understandable, saddens me: Mr. Abunimah was held in the highest esteem by this writer, but much like the esteem held for Norman Finkelstein, it has eroded. Readers will remember that Ali initiated a call for “Granting No Quarter” against Gilad Atzmon, and cautioned my use of the “J-word” at the Al-Awda convention in April, 2011. He apparently does not like Jewish political identity being the subject matter of any discourse relating to the theft of his homeland. Some of his traveling companions on the bus were members of the Zionist group Jewish Voice for Peace and that is troubling. He did however, write a fairly accurate report of the day’s proceedings and you can read it here.
US District Judge Paul D. Borman will hear Rasmea’s case, and outside the courtroom this writer asked a Chicago supporter whether Borman was Jewish. It really didn’t matter, I was told, she knew many Jews who were anti-Zionists, and that Borman was reputed to be open and smart.
PeaceMonger wonders about the case of a Black South African anti-apartheid activist facing similar charges. Would people glibly say it doesn’t matter if someone asked whether the judge was an Afrikaner?
Does Israel have a “right” to exist as a Jewish state, and, if so, by what right?
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends