“In the US, we are living in a time that is worse than the few years after the September 11th attacks,” said Rasmea Odeh to nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Chicago Teachers Union Hall to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8. “Israeli and U.S. policies make it easy to target our people,” she continued, “but Palestinians are resisting these attacks in Palestine, and here in the U.S., we are all resisting Trump’s attacks on immigrants, Black people, Arabs and Muslims, and others.” The audience responded with a standing ovation.
Rasmea Odeh is among the eight women who endorsed the Women’s March call to strike in commemoration of International Women’s Day. Her co-signatories included trailblazing intellectuals, activists, and leaders like Angela Davis, Barbara Ransby, Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor, Linda Martín Alcoff, Cinzia Arruzza, Tithi Bhattacharya, and Nancy Fraser. Yet not everyone has been enthusiastically receptive to Odeh or her message. No other signatory received the same scorn and scrutiny in both mainstream outlets—like theNew York Times and the Chicago Tribune—and right-wing rags like Breitbart and Legal Insurrection, as well as some in between. These stories attacked Odeh as a “convicted terrorist” and an “illegal immigrant,” mercilessly disparaging her character and with it, everything Odeh stands for—and everyone who stands for her.
Odeh is a Palestinian woman. She is a former political prisoner and has been a leading immigrant rights and women’s rights advocate in Chicago since 2004. She is also a survivor of sexual violence. In 1969, Israel accused her of placing an explosive device in a supermarket and killing two university students in Jerusalem.
In mid-July 2016, we, a group of scholars, activists, and artists from the United States, Belgium, and Palestine, released a pedagogical project entitled Gaza in Context. The project aims to upend an ahistorical narrative that has cast the Gaza Strip as a national security issue. By emphasizing the role of Hamas and diminishing the question of Palestine, Israel has collapsed conditions in Gaza with asymmetric conflicts, or what has come to be known as the “global war on terror,” thus eliding the consequential distinctions between Palestinians and other non-state actors. This pedagogical project is an attempt to re-frame the issue in order to place greater emphasis on the broader question of Palestine and to explain Israel’s policy towards the Gaza Strip in a settler-colonial framework.
A 20-minute multi-media film that combines lecture, animation, typography, and footage from Palestine is the centerpiece of this project. The short film is also available in four, five-minute parts and each part corresponds to a teaching guide for instructional purposes. Other components of the project include abibliography featuring 110 entries that include books, journal articles, book chapters, essays, films, lectures, and videos as well as a compendium of Jadaliyya articles featured in what we call a JadMag. All of these elements are housed on the project’s own website, which is part of a larger research project on Palestine headed by the Forum on Arab and Muslim Affairs at the Arab Studies Institute. Read more...
Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and activist. As of Fall 2014, she is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University. She has taught international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University since Spring 2009. Noura is a Co-Editor of Jadaliyya. Read more . . .
I am currently working on a book-length manuscript that narrates the Palestinian-Israel conflict through critical junctures in international law. My research interests include the laws of war, human rights law, humanitarian law, refugee law, national security law, social justice, Palestine, the Palestinian-Israel conflict, and the Middle East in general. Read more . . .
As a co-editor of Jadaliyya, I have the privilege of working with a remarkable team of scholars and analysts who have their hand on the pulse of dynamic change and historical perspective in the Middle East.
Legal Agenda is a Beirut-based NGO established in 2010 dedicated to legal reform throughout the Arab world through civic and judicial empowerment including the interdisciplinary study of law and society.