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Hatem Abudayyeh: ‘Drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh!’

By staff |
August 27, 2014
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Milwaukee, WI - On the evening of Aug. 5, students, activists and community members gathered at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to hear Hatem Abudayyeh speak about the political repression and the case of Rasmea Odeh. Abudayyeh is a spokesperson for the Rasmea Odeh Defense Committee. The event was organized by Progressive Students of Milwaukee.

Abudayyeh explained that Odeh’s arrest is part of a pattern of political repression targeting Arabs and Muslims, particularly those who criticize U.S. support for Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people. “We're not talking about Rasmea in a vacuum here. We're talking about Rasmea in the context of political repression of other Palestinian leaders.” Those include people such as the Holy Land Five and University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian. He also emphasized the need for unity with different communities facing political repression. “When you are opposed to U.S. policy, you are repressed, and it's not just something that Palestinian communities face.”

Reflecting on the underlying causes of this repression, Abudayyeh argued that in order to manufacture support for its foreign wars and interventions, the ruling class in the U.S. must create the impression of an ‘enemy within.’ Demonizing Arabs and Latinos at home legitimizes U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America, Abudayyeh contended. “They have to convince the public that there are terrorists here; and that face is Arabs and Muslims and the thousands of Mexican and Central American immigrants deported each day.”

Rasmea Odeh is a leading member of Chicago's Arab and Muslim communities, a mentor to hundreds of immigrant women and a well-known and respected organizer. She has made it her life's work to serve and help empower Palestinian and Arab families and is a proud reminder of the millions of Palestinians who have not given up organizing for their rights of liberation, equality and return.