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

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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.

Year: 2021


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