Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh forced to leave Germany | News | DW | 29.03.2019
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Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh forced to leave Germany

The activist lost an appeal to have her visa reinstated after a court ruled she posed a threat to public order. A speech planned for Wednesday was blocked for fear she would criticize Israel.

The controversial Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh was ordered to leave Germany on Friday after losing an urgent appeal to have a previous decision revoking her visa overturned.

The decision from Berlin's Foreign Nationals Office to withdraw Odeh's visa on the grounds it would threaten public order was upheld by the Berlin Higher Administrative Court.  

It argued that the right to free speech did not oblige Germany to allow foreign nationals to stay in the country to give them a platform.

The 72-year-old had been due to speak at events organized by the Palestinian prisoners solidarity network Samidoun over the last two weeks but was forced to cancel after sharp criticism from Israel.

Odeh was blocked from speaking at a rally on Wednesday after the Berlin Senate reasoned there was a risk of anti-Israeli hate speech.

Read more: Is Israel interfering in German cultural policy?

German sensitivity

Germany has strict laws against anti-Semitism whose interpretation has recently widened to include anti-Israeli actions after the government adopted a new definition by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association.

Odeh has long campaigned against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and has called for a boycott of the state, a sensitive matter in Germany where memories of Nazi-era boycotts of Jews are ever-present.

Read more: German cities split with 'anti-Semitic' BDS boycott movement

Bombing in the occupied territories

In 1970 Odeh was sentenced to life in jail by a military court after a bomb attack in Jerusalem killed two, but she was released in a prisoner exchange after 10 years. 

Her allies argued her confession to the attack can't be separated from a context of abuse and a conviction rate of 99.7 percent in the occupied territories.

Israel regards her as a terrorist

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said it was unacceptable that "terrorists who pretend to be human rights activists abuse freedom of expression for terror and sedition."

ta/ng (dpa, AFP)

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