March 17, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

U.S. ambassador causes Germany to deport PFLP terrorist from country

Richard Grenell told The Jerusalem Post on Friday “It was the right decision. The Germans made the right decision.”
March 17, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

U.S. ambassador causes Germany to deport PFLP terrorist from country

Richard Grenell told The Jerusalem Post on Friday “It was the right decision. The Germans made the right decision.”

BERLIN — The German government canceled an event on Friday with a convicted Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Israeli students, following a strongly worded statement from US Ambassador Richard Grenell that was prominently featured in the nation’s daily newspapers.

Berlin’s department for interior announced in a statement on Friday that they barred Rasmea Odeh from speaking in the capital and revoked her visa. The German authorities said Odeh must immediately leave the Schengen Area that is comprised of 26 European nations.

According to the interior department’s statement, Odeh was barred from speaking because “the political activity of a foreigner may be limited or prohibited, as far as it affects the political decision making in the Federal Republic of Germany or the peaceful coexistence of Germans and foreigners or of various groups of foreigners in the federal territory, public safety and order or other significant interests of the Federal Republic of Germany or endangered.”

Grenell praised the decision, telling The Jerusalem Post that “It was the right decision. The Germans made the right decision.”

The US Ambassador to Germany had told Fox News on Thursday that “the rise of antisemitism around the world is very troubling.

Some people plant the seeds of antisemitism, while others water it and help it grow. Offering a public speaking role to a Palestinian terrorist convicted of murder, terrorism and immigration fraud legitimizes antisemitism at a time when we should be condemning it.”

“I join the chorus of others who have raised their voices in Berlin standing against antisemitism no matter where it’s found,” he added.

His criticism blanketed large German dailies on Friday, including the country’s top-selling newspaper, Bild.

The Post learned that Germany’s alleged tolerance for terrorists played a role in the eviction of Odeh from German territory.

In February, the German government defied an American extradition order and released the Turkish terrorist Adem Yilmaz, responsible for the murder of two American service members. According to Bloomberg, the acting Attorney-General Matt Whitaker issued an “unusual rebuke of an ally for sending the man to Turkey.”

Germany’s foreign ministry and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also congratulated Iran on the commemoration of its Islamic revolution last month.

Odeh had been slated to speak at a conference organized by an antisemitic Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment alliance on “Palestinian Women Fighting for Liberation” in Berlin on Friday.

As a member of the US and EU-classified terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Odeh was responsible for a 1969 bombing that killed two students – Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe – in a Jerusalem supermarket.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo reported on Thursday that Grenell “petitioned German leaders on behalf of the Trump administration to ban Odeh from entering the country.” Kredo noted: “Odeh was reportedly invited to speak in Berlin on Friday by the ‘pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, which is a supporter of the alliance of BDS groups.’”

Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East defended Odeh on its Facebook page against the alleged defamation campaign she experienced in Germany.

After Grenell’s statement – as well as protests from Israel’s Ambassador to Germany and the Jewish community in Germany – the department for interior affairs took action against Odeh.

Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff issued a rare criticism of the German authorities on Thursday.

“We are shocked that a convicted Palestinian terrorist, who is personally responsible for the murder of two students in a supermarket, was invited to speak in Berlin,” he said. “Ironically [this is happening] in Berlin, a city that stands for tolerance and freedom and has now written the fight against antisemitism on the flags.”

Odeh was also convicted by the Israeli authorities for a second bombing at the British consulate. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1970 for her role in the bombings. She was released from prison in 1979 due to a prisoner exchange. She now lives in Jordan after living in the US for more than two decades.

The US government deported Odeh in 2017 for immigration fraud. She lied about her terrorism convictions when she entered the US.

Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 

Issues:

Iran Iran Politics and Economy Palestinian Politics