The Trials of Rasmea Odeh: How a Palestinian Guerrilla Gained and Lost U.S. Citizenship

The Trials of Rasmea Odeh: How a Palestinian Guerrilla Gained and Lost U.S. Citizenship

ISBN 9781942695257 | Cloth | $34.95 | November 2021

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On February 21, 1969, a bomb exploded in the largest supermarket in Jerusalem. The blast killed two and injured many more, triggering an intense search for the terrorists behind the plot. Israeli security forces quickly apprehended, tortured, tried, and eventually convicted twenty-one-year-old Palestinian Rasmea Odeh for murder. Twenty-five years later, however, Odeh was not serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison but instead starting a new life in the United States, first in Detroit and later in Chicago, eventually becoming a naturalized citizen and working as a community organizer. Her arrest by U.S. federal authorities in 2013 on charges of unlawful procurement of citizenship and subsequent trial ignited defenders and detractors, even as the facts of the case, the previous conviction, and those of Odeh’s life were obscured or ignored.

Based on extensive research, The Trials of Rasmea Odeh separates fact from fiction as it follows the remarkable twists of this story, even—or especially—where those facts subvert one political narrative or another. The result is that rare book that is both an extraordinary achievement of scholarly research and a gripping, accessible, and engaging narrative, making it an invaluable resource for discussion of the issues of citizenship, statehood, and the limits of legality this story engages.

What an exemplary gem of scholarship. Combining thorough inquiry with critical empathy, Lubet has written a superb classic that young scholars whatever their field will benefit from reading. The Trials of Rasmea Odeh is truly one of the most impressive books I’ve ever read.

— David J. Garrow, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama

About the Author:

Steven Lubet is Williams Memorial Professor at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and author of John Brown’s Spy: The Adventurous Life and Tragic Confession of John E. Cook. His work has appeared in Slate, Salon, Politico, and the Daily Beast, and his commentaries have been heard on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.