Niece of Israeli killed in terror attack condemns Women’s Strike for allowing leadership of Rasmea Odeh

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The niece of an Israeli killed in a terrorist attack nearly 50 years ago criticized the planned International Women’s Strike for allowing into a leadership role one of the convicted terrorists that killed her uncle.

In an Op-Ed published last week on the Huffington Post website, Terry Joffe Benaryeh said she commends the goal of the strike, a push for women’s equality, planned for March 8, which is the official observance of International Women’s Day.

“But, explain how my family is supposed to reconcile the reality that the woman who stripped my uncle of his life is now deemed a hero by many of my fellow Americans. What justification is there for Rasmea Odeh, a woman who killed two people (with the intention of killing more!) to lead a peaceful fight for human rights?” Benaryeh writes.

Eddie Joffe and Leon Kanner were killed at the Supersol market in Jerusalem on Feb. 21. 1969, when a bomb set by Odeh and an accomplice exploded in the crowded store. Nine people were injured in the blast.

Odeh was arrested in March 1969, and convicted and sentenced by an Israeli military court in 1970 to life in prison for two bombing attacks on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. She spent 10 years in an Israeli prison before being released in a prisoner exchange with the PFLP in 1980.

ADVERTISEMENT
Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Odeh confessed to planting the bomb, though in recent years has claimed that the confession was tortured out of her, which is disputed by Israeli officials.

“Explain to me how Odeh, who was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group, was chosen to represent American feminists who seek to peacefully stand up for women’s rights. The Women’s Strike lists as its Principle #1 that “Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is a positive force confronting the forces of injustice and utilizes the righteous indignation and spiritual, emotional, and intellectual capabilities of people as the vital force for change and reconciliation.” Rasmea Odeh signed her name to this movement. And she did so with blood on her hands,” Benaryeh wrote.

Odeh, an associate director at the Arab American Action Network, was found guilty in November 2014 of lying on her application for citizenship to the United States by covering up her conviction and imprisonment in Israel for the bombing attacks when she entered the United States in 1995. She applied for citizenship in 2004. In December 2016, a federal judge ordered a new trial, in which Odeh reportedly will be allowed to show she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder when she was interviewed in Detroit during the citizenship process, which was not introduced in her first trial.

Sign up for Your Morning Light