Israel claims victory for getting a Palestinian activist banned from Germany

Israeli flag and Rasmea Odeh
Support us and go ad-free

German officials revoked a Palestinian activist’s visa and refused to let her speak at an International Women’s Day (IWD) event in Berlin. The Israeli government has taken credit for this action, claiming it applied pressure on German officials.

“Germany’s relationship with Israel”

On 15 March, Rasmea Odeh was due to speak at an event called Palestinian women in the liberation struggle. This talk was organised by the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network to celebrate IWD. Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet with Israeli citizenship, was also due to speak at the event.

As Electronic Intifada reported, officials surrounded Odeh outside the venue, gave her “a document from the Berlin Senate”, and told her to leave. This document was a “26-page report” that:

claimed her appearance could endanger Germany’s relationship with Israel and threaten peaceful coexistence. It also referred to BDS Berlin, the event co-host, as an “anti-Semitic coalition.”

BDS is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. This is a “Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality”. Samidoun noted that Odeh:

is a lifelong struggler for Palestine, a community organizer of hundreds of Palestinian women and a transnational feminist who has received awards for her groundbreaking organizing work and support.

“Attack on freedom of speech”

In a press release, Odeh’s support group said she now faces deportation. Without her two-year Schengen visa, Odeh can’t give talks in other European Schengen countries. Her supporters said:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Gilad Erdan, Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs, claimed credit for the decision taken by German authorities to revoke Odeh’s Schengen Visa. Once again, Israeli officials have exerted their influence on Germany in order to prevent public criticism of its human rights abuses.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a statement from Erdan claimed this decision was made “thanks to” his pressure. He also claimed pressure came from “a slew of Jewish organizations in Germany, as well as protest by the Israeli ambassador in Germany”.


Officials claimed Odeh was “convicted on terrorism charges in Israel”. Haaretz reported that Odeh:

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.

In 1969, Odeh did sign a confession “for alleged involvement” in the bomb attacks. But she signed this after 25 days in prison where she says she was “raped and tortured by Israeli soldiers”. In 1979, she testified about this to a UN special committee. As Electronic Intifada noted:

Despite the evidence, media outlets continue to refer to Odeh as a “terrorist,” often failing to mention the torture conditions under which her confession was made, or the 1977 Sunday Times investigative piece which brought her story to light

“A new low”

Odeh, Tatour, and the event organisers said in a press release that they “strictly reject all forms of violence, anti-Semitism, racism and sexism”. Odeh’s attorney Nadija Samour, meanwhile, called “an urgent hearing” at the Berlin Administrative Court to fight the deportation. Samour said:

Cancelling a visa based on what has happened so far in the past is a completely new concept from a legal point of view, especially as it is based on a confession condemned even by the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories.

Odeh’s supporters, meanwhile, insisted that:

This attack on freedom of speech and association, basic rights enshrined in the German constitution, marks a new low in the targeting of Palestinian activists and BDS supporters in Germany and could set a legal precedent, if successful. 

Featured images via Tiia Monto/Wikimedia and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us