ABA Journal


Criminal Justice

Community activist with law degree hid bomb-plot conviction to get US citizenship, indictment says

Oct 25, 2013, 03:30 pm CDT


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By lewis dunn on 2013 10 25, 4:26 pm CDT

While Ms. Odeh certainly did something wrong by concealing her conviction, your broad racist attack against all "Arabs" is misinformed and inflammatory. Not all "Arabs" are Muslims, for one thing, and not all Muslims are terrorists. And America is the nation of immigrants, and we have constitutional protections for everyone, regardless of race or heritage.

By RecentGrad on 2013 10 25, 4:48 pm CDT

I don't know what the first comment said. Agreed that you can't indict an entire group as terrorists. But conversely being a "nice person" indicted for immigration fraud for concealing a violent crime does not constitute an attack on the entire community either as the director Hatem Abudayyeh of the AAAN claims in his rant in the story. A terrorist conviction disqualifies anyone from admission to the US, and lying on the application is a crime that should be punished. This "nation of immigrants" has the right to exclude violent criminals. There are no subtleties or cultural prejudices here. It's outrageous that this guy is so outraged.

By Santana on 2013 10 25, 5:55 pm CDT

Santana: be glad you didn't see the first post. I also agree with you that we have to be fair on both sides. While Odeh may have turned her life around and become an active member of the community and a positive role model, if these facts are true she still lied to get into the country, and must deal with the consequences of her actions.

By RecentGrad on 2013 10 25, 9:17 pm CDT

"Arab-American civil rights" should be the same as all other American civil rights. However, civil rights generally don't extend to blowing up other citizens you disagree with, so if she was involved in that, she should not have been granted citizenship.

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 26, 8:16 pm CDT

Now compare and contrast her with Luis Posada Carilles.
There is no excuse for being untruthful on immigration and citizenship applications. Did she lie because she was, rightfully, afraid that her applications would be denied? It doesn't matter. It's understandable but it does not matter.

By Saddict on 2013 10 26, 11:48 pm CDT

It is fair to observe that the Director of AAAN managed to discredit AAAN in its over the top support for Ms. Odeh, who is a convicted terrorist.

You have to wonder what Hatem Abudayyed was thinking, and whether he thought he would be held accountable.

By Yankee on 2013 10 28, 3:30 pm CDT

When a "valued member of a community" was previously "convicted in a terrorist attack", it is no wonder that there are the stereotypes. Adn when other members of the community say that it isn't fair and it isn't a big deal, they support the stereotypes.

By Dr Phun on 2013 10 28, 4:56 pm CDT

"Nation of immigrants."

Make that "Nation of Legal Immigrants" and I am with you, but not otherwise.

I am sure whatever country the AAN director has roots in also has immigration laws (some Arab countries have laws forbidding any Christians and Jews from immigrating, as an example), yet I wonder if he would dare criticize those sacred laws.

This is America. We have immigration laws as well. Oh, and by the way, real Americans have no use for terrorist bombers*. We are funny that way. If the AAN director doesn't get this, he should step down. He is doing Arab Americans no favors by wringing his hands over this liar's fate. Frankly, it is embarrassing to watch.

* Although a few so-called Americans make an exception if the terrorist's name is Ayers. That is not the great majority off thinking Americans, however.

By Been There on 2013 10 28, 11:49 pm CDT

So, don't talk, or sing, or boast,
About your Fenians and your clans,
Or how the boys from County Cork,
Drove out the Black an' Tans. . .

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 29, 5:52 am CDT

Wow. Why would a criminal hide something to get something ? : )

By charlegman on 2013 10 30, 8:13 pm CDT


The biggest demonstrable exception has been a convicted terrorist by the name of Luis Posada Carilles. Of course, Carilles calls himself a "freedom fighter" rather than a terrorist. I am sure Ms. Odeh also considered herself a 'freedom fighter' back in 1969.

By Saddict on 2013 10 31, 6:03 am CDT

I suppose that has always been the rub, when we have to choose between the "terrorists" we don't like and the "freedom fighters" we do like. Even though they may use identical tactics. It is not a secret that a former Israeli head of state had been involved in a "freedom fighter" organization that planted bombs concealed in milk churns in the King David Hotel, and killed many British soldiers during the so-called "British Mandate for Palestine." Of course, the British did not call the Irgun or Menachem Begin "freedom fighters," just as they never called the IRA "freedom fighters." Generally, this seems to depend upon whose ox is being gored.

By B. McLeod on 2013 10 31, 7:28 am CDT

Sad article. Wish there were more details about the bombing. She didn't seem to be a left-wing radical currently.

Also in paragraph 4 - " after emigrating to the U.S" I believe "immigrating to the U.S." is correct.

By benvoglio on 2013 10 31, 8:12 pm CDT

@14 - Pretty sure that both can be used. She emigrated to the U.S. by leaving wherever she lived, she immigrated to the U.S. by coming here.

By NoleLaw on 2013 11 01, 1:43 pm CDT

Okay, so Ms. Odeh is Palestinian, was convicted of terrorism in Israel and then her sentence was commuted. My first question is whether she was really convicted for being Palestinian. We know that Israel is not the bastion of democracy by any stretch of the imagination. Not only does Israel target and imprison Palestinians merely suspected of crimes, they also target and imprison their family members in order to coerce confessions. All all other western nations do not support Israeli tactics nor blindly trust Israel and would perform an investigation into this to understand what really happened.

By kat on 2013 11 01, 2:05 pm CDT

What the US Attorney glosses over is the presumed validity of the conviction of a Palestinian by an Israeli military court. Just as a few innocent bystanders have spent a decade in Guantanamo, I'm sure there are a few Palestinians in Israeli prisons whose only crime was giving their cousin a ride to Hebron. There should be some independent review of the evidence before proceeding.

By Bama on 2013 11 01, 2:12 pm CDT

@16 and 17 - Those are interesting points, and to the extent they are relevant for immigration purposes, should have been raised at the time of application. You don't get to conceal information, then get a second chance to explain after you've been caught lying. If this woman was an attorney, I am sure she understands that concept.

By NoleLaw on 2013 11 01, 2:26 pm CDT

The ACLU seems to stick its neck out for other scofflaws. Where does it weigh in on this?

By 7pillars on 2013 11 01, 2:57 pm CDT

Ship her out! End of story.

By large weasel on 2013 11 01, 6:14 pm CDT

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