Hosting a criminal guest was not the reason supplied by the university for closing the center, but rather that her visit had not been cleared first with the institution.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
After hosting a gathering in honor of convicted terrorist Rasmeah Odeh, the Verrekijker Center was abruptly closed down by the Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam, the institution announced on Wednesday.
The fact that Odeh is a convicted Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist who was jailed for 10 years in Israel for her part in a 1969 bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket that killed two people was not the reason given for the action, however. Neither was her continued open virulent opposition to the Jewish state.
“The VU makes this drastic decision after a secret meeting took place in the Verrekijker Center on Tuesday evening, 27 February,” said the university in a statement. “The collective [in charge of the center] intentionally did not notify the VU, despite agreements made about this.”
The other violation mentioned was that the meeting had a closed-door policy, which is against university regulations. According to reports in the Dutch media, the collective in charge did not allow entrance to reporters for the Jewish Dutch weekly, NIW, because they are “Zionists.”
Since the organizers violated the trust the university had in them to hold “safe and responsible” activities, the VU stated, it had “no other choice” but to shut them down. Yet VU seemingly left the door open to their reopening by stating at the end that it “aims for a neat and correct settlement” with the center.
Odeh had been given a life sentence after Israeli police found extensive bomb-making material, including explosive bricks, in her room, in an investigation of the case. She was also convicted of bombing and damaging the British Consulate four days after the supermarket killings. She was only released in 1980 because the government let her and 77 other terrorists go in an exchange with the PFLP for one Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon.
Odeh subsequently entered the United States in 1995 by concealing her criminal record, which is a federal offense. She also lied on her immigration forms when she applied for — and received — US citizenship nine years later. In 2014, she was convicted of immigration fraud in federal court and was subsequently stripped of her US citizenship and deported to Jordan in August 2017.