BERLIN – Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is prepared to allow convicted Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist Rasmea Odeh to speak at an event in Berlin on Friday organized by a reportedly antisemitic BDS alliance organization.
German Green Party politician Volker Beck slammed Odeh’s planned participation. “Why isn’t a convicted terrorist like Rasmea Odeh’s entry in the Schengen Information System blocked? Why did one name the Residence Act hate preaching as an obstacle to entry if these laws are then not applied,” he wrote on Facebook.
He added that “In Germany, the PFLP is not prohibited. I jointly demanded the [ban of the PFLP] with Yair Lapid [Yesh Atid Chairman] in 2017."
Schengen Area is the region that encompasses 26 European states that have removed passports requirements at their borders.
Odeh, a former member of PFLP which is classified by the US and EU as a terrorist organization, was responsible for a 1969 bombing that murdered two students – Leon Kanner and Eddie Joffe – in a Jerusalem supermarket.
She pleaded guilty in 2017 to US naturalization fraud, and was deported in September to Jordan because she had lied about her terrorism conviction when she entered the US.
Berlin-based Tagesspiegel reporter Alexander Fröhlich first broke the story on Tuesday. He wrote that Odeh will talk about “Palestinian women in the liberation struggle” and the she will speak at the event organized by the “antisemitic alliance of BDS.”
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday “It is very disturbing to learn that the German authorities are allowing convicted PFLP terrorist and murderer Rasmea Odeh to enter Germany for the express purpose of speaking at an antisemitic rally to support boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel.”
Zuroff, the organization’s chief Nazi-hunter, added “To the best of my knowledge, Odeh never expressed any regret about the murder of innocent persons in Jerusalem that she carried out, and remains a staunch antisemite and supporter of the forces determined to try and destroy Israel, facts which should help convince the German Interior Minister to ban her entry to the Federal Republic.”
The pro-BDS group Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East , which is a supporter of the alliance of BDS groups that invited Odeh, came under fire from Beck and Dr. Elvira Grözinger , the head of the German section of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
Sebastian Brux, a spokesman for the Berlin Senate’s Judiciary, Consumer and Anti-Discrimination department, said that “Berlin’s judiciary cannot implement a ban of entry” regarding Odeh. He said that a ban fell under the responsibility of the federal interior ministry.
When asked if Germany plans to block Odeh’s entry, a unnamed spokesperson for Germany’s foreign ministry wrote the Post on Wednesday: “The federal government is not participating in this event. The federal government does not have contact to the EU designated terrorist organization PFLP. The federal government rejects every form of the glorification of terrorism.” Maas, who said he went into politics “because of Auschwitz,” has stressed repeatedly that everything must be done to protect Jewish life in Germany and Europe. Maas’s foreign ministry last week rejected Israel’s and America’s appeal to ban the terrorist entity Hezbollah.
Steve Alter, a spokesman for Germany’s interior ministry, wrote the Post by email, when asked if Germany will block Odeh from entering Germany. “Generally, you can expect the authorities to use the legal tools at their disposal. The PFLP has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks against the state of Israel since the 1970s. It was in 2002 listed by the EU as a terrorist organization.”
Alter added “Events like the upcoming one in Berlin serve to glorify terrorist activities against the state of Israel’s right to exist. Whether and to what extent it can be intervened is a matter of the right of assembly and of criminal law and therefore of the [German] states. The PFLP is a founding member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign... Such an objective is antisemitic in nature.”
Italy’s government barred Leila Khaled, a convicted PFLP terrorist and plane hijacker, from entering its territory in 2017.
Beck, an expert on contemporary antisemitism in Germany and a lecturer at the Center for Studies in Religious Sciences (CERES) at the Ruhr University in Bochum, wrote that if BDS supports this Odeh event in Berlin it is “ one propagandistic support for anti-Israeli terrorism. The big brother of the Jewish Voice for Just Peace in Middle East is also doing this. Support here does not mean in the legal, but in the transmitted sense.”
Beck’s reference to the “big brother” of the pro-BDS Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East is the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace that hosted Odeh at its spring 2017 conference in Chicago. The head of the NGO said at the time that organization was “honored to hear from her.”
Israel’s government last year and the US government this month urged the Cologne-based Bank for Social Economy to close the account for Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East. Jewish Voice in Germany is part of the BDS alliance that seeks to isolate and punish the Jewish state.
Dr. Elvira Grözinger , the head of the German section of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, slammed Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East and the bank that provides an account for the group because it’s self-described “sister organization” Jewish Voice for Peace in the USA praised Odeh.
Grözinger, prominent German Jew, said “In this context, I point out that the Jewish Voice is the German section of the Jewish Voice for Peace and that its accounts with the Bank for Social Economy (BfS) keep funds for such purposes ! That’s direct terrorist support! These accounts must therefore not be kept neither at BfS nor elsewhere! I ask you to take action on this matter!”
The CEO of the Bank for Social Economy, Harald Schmitz, did not respond to Grözinger’s and Beck’s comments. Aron Schuster, the director of the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany (ZWST), a part owner of the bank, declined refused to answer Post
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