DETROIT - Opening statements will be given Wednesday morning in the immigration fraud trial of Chicago activist Rasmieh Odeh.
A 12-member jury and two alternates were selected Tuesday.
Prospective jurors were told that exhibits will show that Odeh, 67, was convicted for a bombing attack 45 years ago in which two people were killed. That attack at a Jerusalem grocery story is relevant in this case only because Odeh failed to disclose her record when she applied for naturalization as an American citizen in 2004. Immigration forms specifically ask if someone was ever arrested or convicted, and Odeh checked boxes marked "no."
Several prospective jurors were dismissed after telling the judge that they did not think they could be fair with Odeh after learning she was connected to a deadly attack. Jurors also were asked if they had any biases against Palestinians and Muslims.
Several dozen Odeh supporters traveled from Chicago for the trial's opening, as they have for a series of pre-trial hearings. They held a brief demonstration outside the Detroit federal courthouse after the trial recessed for the day.
If convicted, Odeh could be stripped of her citizenship, face prison time and ultimately be deported.
For background on the case, and the campaign by those supporters to try to get the charges dropped, see our five-part video series., "Spinning a Terrorist Into a Victim."
To see part 1, "Who is Rasmieh Odeh?"
To see Part 2, "Rasmieh Odeh's Victims,"
To see part 3, "From Terrorist to American
To see part 4, "Rasmieh Odeh's Changing
To see part 5, "A Spin Strategy Larger Than
A New York Times (NYT) editor admits that the newspaper avoids writing about Palestinian racism, yet continues to devote significant attention to the alleged bigotry of Israeli society, the Times of Israel reports. NYT opinion editor Matt Seaton proclaimed that his section would report on Palestinian racism only as "soon as they have [a] sovereign state to discriminate with," in a revealing twitter exchange with Times of Israel reporter Tamar Sternthal.
Lack of official statehood apparently renders the Palestinians free from scrutiny. This stunning admission comes in light of yet another NYT op-ed claiming that Israeli society overall is racist.
"Often overlooked, an insight into the life of one fifth of Israeli citizens who are Palestinian," Seaton wrote in a Twitter post promoting "Minority life in Israel," by Rula Jebreal.
Sternthal published the ensuing Twitter exchange:
The NYT published another column focusing on alleged Israeli societal racism only a month ago and devotes considerable attention to a topic filled with dubious assertions. Many of these pieces are littered with false allegations. For instance, Jebreal falsely claims that there are "more than 50 discriminatory Israeli laws documented by Adalah, the Haifa-based Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights."
CAMERA's Gilead Ini dispelled this myth, writing to NYT editors the night before Jebreal's piece was printed, Sternthal wrote. He noted that some of the 50 laws include one that "provides that the state stamp shall be placed on all official documents." Another says that "if a child does not receive vaccinations mandated by the Health Ministry, his/her state-funded child allowance payments will be decreased by 60 percent."
Despite frequent misrepresentations and outright lies about Israel's "racist" society, there has not been a single NYT column focusing on Palestinian racism this year. The newspaper consistently overlooks blatant examples of Palestinian bigotry and incitement to violence from all levels of societies and propagated from the most senior political echelons. Just last week, both Hamas and Fatah officials praised the terrorist who rammed his car into an Israeli crowd and killed a 3-month old baby. This was not reported in the New York Times.
Sympathy over Palestinian statelessness does not justify deliberately ignoring incendiary rhetoric which incites hatred and anti-Semitism.
Just after last week's terrorist attacks in Ottawa, the city's police chief Charles Bordeleau reached out to various Muslim leaders and organizations with questionable ties to radical organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, according to a report produced by the Canadian website Point De Bascule.
Sikhander Hashmi, the imam at the Kanata Muslim Association (KMA), acknowledged that Bordeleau contacted him to reassure the Muslim community in case of "backlash" from the terrorist attack. This perceived "backlash" remains to be seen. More significantly, the Ottawa Police Service overlooks connections between Hahsmi's organization and the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure in Ottawa. That includes money it transferred to the Hamas-linked IRFAN-Canada in 2010, according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
IRFAN-Canada lost its charity status in 2011 following a CRA audit that exposed the organization as an "integral part" in Hamas' international fundraising infrastructure. The donations in question were sent between 2005 and 2009. Canadian authorities designated IRFAN-Canada as a terrorist organization earlier this year after determining the charity served as a front for Hamas, transferring close to $15 million to the terrorist organization.
The KMA also transferred money to the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organization linked to the Pakistani Jammat-e-Islami.
Moreover, Chief Bordeleau previously met with other controversial Muslim leaders in Ottawa. In January 2013, he met with Jalil Marhnouj, vice president of the Assunnah Muslims Association and other leaders affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood network in Canada. The Assunnah Muslims Association transferred $29,880 to IRFAN.
Despite the Canadian government's acknowledged link between the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and Hamas, the Ottawa Police Service maintains an extensive relationship with the controversial group. The NCCM, formerly known as CAIR-CAN, has trained Ottawa Police officers since February 2002, according to a Senate Committee testimony provided by a former Ottawa police chief. The NCCM is a recognized affiliate of CAIR, which has been identified by the FBI as part of a Hamas-support network in the United States.
Click here for the full Point De Bascule.
Two orders issued Monday by a federal judge in Detroit dealt harsh blows to the defense strategy expected from attorneys for Rasmieh Odeh, the subject of a new 5-part video series by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
Odeh is scheduled to go on trial Nov. 4 on two counts of immigration fraud, stemming her conviction in an Israeli court for a 1969 terrorist bombing in Jerusalem that killed two college students. On immigration applications to come to America and later to become a citizen, Odeh failed to acknowledge her arrest, conviction and imprisonment.
Odeh confessed to the bombing, but later claimed that it was the result of extended torture and mistreatment. Her allies have waged a national campaign aimed at casting her as a victim of injustice and getting the charges dropped.
U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain ruled that the torture claims, and a psychologist's theory that Odeh suffers from post-traumatic stress as a result, are inadmissible at trial. He reversed an original order which would have required that prosecutors prove that Odeh withheld the information about her conviction with the specific intent of illegally becoming an American citizen.
The psychologist would have testified that the omission could have been a result of the PTSD. Now, "the Government need only prove [Odeh] made a false statement knowing it to be false," Drain ruled. The PTSD testimony is inadmissible.
In a separate order, he rejected Odeh's motion to stop prosecutors from introducing records from the Israeli prosecution in order to prove that her conviction and 10 years in an Israeli prison really took place. That doesn't mean Drain is ruling out the possibility Odeh was mistreated and coerced into confessing. "However, the issue here is whether [Odeh] provided false answers on her Visa and Naturalization Applications," he wrote.
The Israeli evidence came via a mutual treaty between the United States and Israel, he explained. The Constitution says "treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby..."
In addition, records establishing Odeh's conviction go to the heart of the case. Immigrants to the United States must show they are of good moral character before becoming citizens. By omitting that information on her application, Odeh hid information that likely would have kept her out of the country.
"The probative value of this evidence is overwhelming," Drain wrote.
In discussing the 1969 supermarket bombing, however, prosecutors and their witnesses are not allowed to describe it as a "terrorist" act. That, Drain ruled, would be unduly prejudicial. Odeh's attorneys also asked for another delay in the trial, saying they need more time to prepare their defense, especially in light of the late pre-trial rulings.
Following a deadly terrorist attack on Friday in Sinai, Egypt prevented a senior Hamas delegation from entering the country to participate in indirect discussions between the Palestinians and Israel. Hamas official Khalil Haya confirmed to the Hamas daily Al-Resalah that the terrorist group was denied access into Egypt, the Times of Israel reports.
Earlier, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi claimed that foreign actors were involved in a suicide car bombing that killed over 30 soldiers in el-Arish. Deputy Interior Minister Samih Bashadi went even further and blamed "Palestinian operatives" for the attack.
Bashadi asserts that the Sinai can only be stabilized after the creation of a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula.
These developments come in light of Hamas' attempts to reconcile with the Egyptian government. However, Egypt is convinced that Hamas continues to engage in the planning and execution of terrorist acts within its borders.
Palestinians across the political spectrum are praising Wednesday's terrorist attack in Jerusalem, which resulted in the death of a three-month-old Israeli baby. A car driven by a suspected Hamas member crashed into a crowd at a light-rail station in, killing the baby girl and injuring eight others.
An official Hamas statement refers to the infant as a "female settler," and urges Palestinians to "escalate the confrontations" against Israel in various locations, a translation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism shows.
"The Islamic Resistance Movement 'Hamas' praises its son, the hero martyr Abd al Rahman Idris al-Shaludi (23 years) implementer of the operation of running over the settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem, which led to the death of a female settler and the injury of 8 others," the Hamas statement reads.
Moreover, Sultan Al-Einein, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, praised the terrorist, referring to him as a "heroic Martyr," a Palestinian Media Watch translation of his official Facebook page said. Shaludi was shot by police and later died from his injuries
Al-Einein has glorified terrorists in the past, leading five members of Congress to demand that Abbas fire him and condemn his views. Abbas has ignored the American pressure.
Abbas' Fatah party also glorified the terrorist's actions, posting an obituary on its official Facebook page.
"The Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah)-Silwan branch accompanies to his wedding the heroic Martyr Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaludi, who carried out the Jerusalem operation, in which settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem were run over. Rest in peace! We are loyal to you," the Fatah statement said.
Abbas' refusal to reprimand Al-Einein and failure to hold other officials accountable lends tacit approval of the terrorist glorification sentiment that is prevalent throughout senior ranks of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah.
Lured by local mosques and the Internet, by visions of warriors and victory dancing in their heads, thousands of European Muslims have left the safety of their homes in England, France, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere to join the Syrian jihad. Concern about the security threat they may pose on their return has gripped European leaders for some time; now, they are starting to focus on ways of stopping Muslim would-be jihadists from traveling to Syria at all.
But not everyone seems to think it's such a good idea: Pieter Broertjes, mayor of the Dutch city of Hilversum, for instance, thinks they should be allowed to go. "They're adults," he said in a radio interview Thursday. "Dutch went to Israel after World War II to fight the British, and we didn't try to stop them." (The reference is to the Palestinian territories, which was under British rule until 1948.)
Let's get this straight. Muslims who seek to join terrorist groups, killing innocent men, women and children in some of the most gruesome, inhuman acts of violence imaginable, are just like the Jews who escaped Europe after World War II?
What makes Broertjes' statement particularly shocking is that it comes just two months after a remark by another member of his party, the PvdA, or Labor Party, described IS on Twitter as a "Zionist plot."
The issue in the Broertjes interview was the proposal, raised in numerous European countries, to confiscate (or annul) the passports of anyone suspected of planning to travel to Syria – a suggestion Broertjes finds excessive. Earlier this year, a known Dutch Muslim radical, then living in Hilversum, left for Syria with his wife and children, escaping the notice of local officials – including the mayor's office.
Broertjes remark led to an online uproar, with Esther Voet, the director of the country's largest Jewish rights organization, CIDI, offering on Twitter to give him history lessons. In response, someone calling himself TweetBassam snapped, "Pieter was right, #ISIS and zionists are both terrorists, f***you cidi and you cu*t, Esther."
Broertjes has not responded to any of the criticism. Instead, a PvdA spokesperson apologized on his behalf, calling the remark "un-thought-out" and "unfortunate."
He has not offered to resign.
A car driven by a suspected Hamas member crashed into a crowd at a light-rail station in Jerusalem Wednesday, killing a three month-old girl and injuring eight others.
Israeli officials confirmed that the suspect, Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, is a former Palestinian prisoner from Silwan who may be a Hamas member. Security camera footage apparently recorded the car as it drove onto the platform of the rail station and struck innocent Israeli civilians.
Click here to watch the video on YouTube.
Al-Shaludi was shot by police as he tried to run away. He later died from his wounds.
Hours later, dozens of masked Palestinians clashed with police forces in Silwan and Issawiya, setting tires ablaze and reportedly injuring a police officer following a fire bomb attack.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting violence that encouraged the suspected terrorist attack, the Jerusalem Post reports.
"This is how Abbas' partners in government [Hamas] act. This is the same Abbas who, only a few days ago, incited toward a terrorist attack in Jerusalem," he said.
This comes amid increased Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem, including rock throwing and Molotov cocktails.
A Hamas spokesperson said that if the incident at the rail station was a terrorist attack, it was justified.
A global terrorist group operating out of Sinai is being blamed for injuring two Israeli soldiers patrolling near the Egyptian border Wednesday.
The soldiers' jeep came under small arms and an anti-tank missile fire, initial reports indicate. Officials were trying to determine if the attack came from the Egyptian side of the border or whether the terrorists infiltrated Israeli territory. The injuries are not considered life threatening.
Egyptian authorities say the attack came from Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, which arose from Egypt's 2011 revolution and seeks to topple President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government. According to the Jerusalem Post's Yaakov Lappin, the group has links to the Islamic State terrorist group, and "has beheaded a number of Egyptians in recent months, accusing them of being spies for Israel's Mossad."
It also has fired rockets at Israel's southern city of Eilat. Wednesday's attack took place in the Negev Desert near Mount Harif, a remote area about 70 miles from Eilat.
Bait al-Maqdis frequently targets Egyptian forces, who discovered five tons of explosives and rocket parts during a raid on the terrorist group last week. An Egyptian court sentenced seven Bait al-Maqdis members to death Wednesday in connection with attacks last March that killed nine Egyptian soldiers.
Israeli government officials are fuming over remarks made by Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday which connected the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict to waves of international recruits flocking to the terrorist group ISIS.
"As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition," Kerry said, "the truth is we – there wasn't a leader I met with in the region who didn't raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to."
In a Facebook post written in Hebrew, Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan wrote, "I actually respect Kerry and his efforts, but every time he breaks new records of showing a lack of understanding of our region and the essence of the conflict in the Middle East I have trouble respecting what he says."
Naftali Bennett, the Israeli economy minister, blasted Kerry for linking ISIS, which seeks an Islamic caliphate in Syria, Iraq and beyond, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it "gives a boost to global terrorism."
"It turns out that even when a British Muslim beheads a British Christian, there will always be those who blame the Jews," Bennett said, alluding to the beheading earlier this month of British aid worker Alan Henning. The killer, believed to be the same man who beheaded American journalists James Foley and Steven Satloff, speaks with a British accent.
Kerry's statement, made at a State Department reception celebrating the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, is a bit of a contradiction to President Obama's statement during a speech to the United Nations last month. While also calling for peace talks to resume, Obama acknowledged that "the situation in Iraq and Syria and Libya should cure anybody of the illusion that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the main source of problems in the region."
And there's another obvious point Kerry doesn't seem to understand. The radical Islamists in ISIS, like radical Islamists in Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hizballah and others, absolutely reject any peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. It is codified in their founding charters and repeated statements. Their only acceptable outcome is Israel's destruction. Given that, it's difficult to understand how a peaceful resolution guaranteeing and Jewish homeland in Israel and a Palestinian state, would do anything but ignite new fury and spike the number of recruits seeking to join the jihad.