Dutch university shutters center that hosted Palestinian ex-terrorist


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A Dutch university shut down an activists’ center for its hosting of a lecture by a Palestinian ex-terrorist that Jewish journalists were not allowed to enter.

The Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam shuttered the Verrekijker Center on Wednesday for hosting a speech by Rasmea Odeh, from which reporters for the Jewish Dutch weekly, NIW, were refused entrance because they are Zionists, according to reports in the Dutch media.

Odeh spent 10 years in an Israeli prison for her role in a 1969 bombing attack at a Jerusalem supermarket that killed two Hebrew University students.

“The collective responsible for the use of the Verrekijker has been told to leave the premises and leave it empty,” read a statement by the university, which in the past has resisted pressure to ban the hosting of individuals deemed anti-Semitic or inciting violence against Israel.

But the university did not cite Odeh’s involvement in terrorism and repeated calls for violence as the reason for punishing Verrekijker, referencing instead the establishment’s failure to inform the university of the event in advance, which a spokesman said was a violation of trust.

“The Vrije Universiteit is taking this drastic measure after the Verrekijker on Feb. 27 hosted a secret gathering against what has been agreed upon with the collective. They deliberately not inform the university of the event,” the statement read.

Israel jailed Odeh for life, but she was released in a prisoner exchange with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1980 and immigrated to the United States from Jordan. She has said her confession to the bombing was the result of severe torture by Israeli security forces.

Odeh obtained her U.S. immigrant visa in 1994 and her citizenship in 2004. In both applications, she failed to disclose her arrest and convictions in the bombings. She pleaded guilty to falsifying her immigration applications and was deported to Jordan in September.

Prior to speaking at the Verrekijker, she was invited and then disinvited from a church and a labor association for Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands.

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