Hatem Abudayyeh

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Hatem Abudayyeh


Hatem Abudayyeh is the executive director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) in Chicago and is a longtime Palestinian activist. Throughout the last decade, Abudayyeh has spoken or written against Israeli policies in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon and supported “resistance” against Israel.

He is the son of Khairy Izzat Abudayyeh.

Whie House visit

Hatem Abudayyeh visited the White House at least once. He met with Paul Monterio, Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement on April 22, 2010.

September 24, 2010 FBI Raids

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On September 24 the F.B.I. raided the homes of twelve leftist activists across the U.S.A. looking for links to foreign terrorist organizations. executive director, Hatem Abudayyeh Arab American Action Network was one of those whose home was raided and who is being investigated by the FBI.[1]

People's Thanksgiving, 2013

Since 1992, activists with FightBack! News, some of whom are members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, have held a People’s Thanksgiving dinner. According to Joe Iosbaker, “It was started as part of a movement to protest 500 years of colonialism and to celebrate the resistance of the indigenous people.”

Each year the dinner has recognized activists and organizations that have contributed to struggles in Chicago and around the country.

In 2013, there was urgency to the gathering. Rasmea Odeh, a beloved activist in the Palestinian community in Chicago, is under attack by the U.S. government. The Sunday, Dec. 8 dinner will raise funds for her defense, in addition to helping to keep publishing FightBack!.

Hatem Abudayyeh, a friend of FightBack!, and himself a victim of repression, said, “The FBI and the U.S. attorney in Chicago have used political repression against 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists for the past three years. Now the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. attorney in Detroit are victimizing Rasmea.”

Along with Rasmea Odeh, the dinner honored two activists with the Anti-War Committee-Chicago: Newland Smith, a longtime fixture in the Palestine solidarity movement, and Sarah Simmons for her role resisting Mayor Emanuel’s attack on the Chicago Teachers Union and public education. Pete Camarata, a founder of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, was recognized for his lifelong efforts for the cause of working people. And the continued struggle for justice for Trayvon Martin will be highlighted by a Skype message from Michael Sampson, a Dream Defenders member who occupied the State Capitol in Florida after the acquittal of George Zimmerman.http://www.fightbacknews.[2]

ILPS conference

“Right to Exist, Right to Resist” was the theme of the national political conference called by the International League of Peoples Struggles (ILPS) - U.S. Chapter, held in Chicago, Oct. 22. 2016. ILPS is an anti-imperialist and democratic formation, which promotes anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the peoples of the world. “We mobilized over 160 people from around the U.S. and Canada to discuss how to build the struggle against U.S. wars abroad and war on the workers and oppressed people at home,” said Bernadette Ellorin, national chairperson of BAYAN USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino organizations.

Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression spoke about the struggle in Chicago for community control of the police. “In the final analysis movements such as our must be measured by our ability to challenge the powers that be and bring about the systemic changes needed to empower the people.”

Sarah Chambers, a member of the executive board of the Chicago Teachers Union, gave a fiery speech about the recent contract fight for 23,000 teachers.

Hatem Abudayyeh of the Rasmea Defense Committee addressed the crowd on behalf of the iconic Palestinian community activist, Rasmea Odeh, who is on trial by the U.S. government for her commitment to her homeland and her people. Abudayyeh urged the crowd to travel to Detroit on Nov. 29, in solidarity with Rasmea as she and her lawyers appear in court. Abudayyeh explained, “This is the most important political trial in the country - resisting the attempt by the Department of Justice to criminalize all those who struggle for Palestine.”[3]

AAAN Board

Arab American Action Network staff, as of 2016;[4]

Anti-Trump protest

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Hatem Abudayyeh of the Arab American Action Network speaking at the emergency rally at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, against President Trump's executive order banning entry into the US from 7 Muslim countries.[5]

"Day 8 in the Resistance"

Activists in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, rallied 400 people today, Feb. 4, 2017, to make their village a strong sanctuary. They urged the village trustees and mayor to keep their word and adopt a Welcoming Village Ordinance that would protect immigrants. The organizers opposed a previous proposal with deportation loopholes.

One of the endorsing groups, the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), called this “Day 8 in the Resistance to Trump's Executive Orders.”

The resistance movement began on Saturday, Jan. 28, as tens of thousands of protesters flooded airports all across the nation to protest the Trump administration's executive order signed the day before, which effectively banned all refugees, plus citizens from seven Arab, African, or Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Just days after the signing of executive orders going after sanctuary cities like Chicago, and expanding the wall on the U.S. southern border with Mexico, 3000 protesters descended on the international terminal of O’Hare Airport, after confirmation by the International Rescue Committee that refugees and their families were detained there by the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol.

At a press conference before the protest, Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of AAAN, stated, “The cruel irony in what is being called the ‘Muslim ban,’ in the freezing of all refugee resettlement, and in the blocking of visas for immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, is that the U.S. is either directly militarily engaged or has been threatening military engagement with every single one of these countries. We're dropping bombs or sending weapons and forcing people to flee their homes, and now we're saying that they can't flee here.”

The immediate demands of the coalition at O’Hare were bold and clear: the immediate release of all detainees and the rescinding of the executive orders, a call for Chicago to revise its Welcoming City ordinance to remove carve outs so as to protect all residents, and an end to police criminalization of Black people and other communities of color in Chicago.

The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression had organized its own press conference on Thursday, Jan. 26, a few days before the O’Hare upsurge. Because the struggle against Trump has to build on the struggle against police crimes, organizers including Michael Brunson, recording secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), pledged to continue pushing to pass the important Civilian Police Accountability Council ordinance at the Chicago city council level.

At that press conference, Muhammad Sankari of the United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), said, “We will not allow Rahm Emanuel to use the immigrant community to wash the blood of Laquan, Rekia, Damo, and many more off his hands. Sanctuary means sanctuary for all residents of Chicago, including protecting the Black community from racist police.”

The first day of protest at O’Hare was followed on Sunday, Jan. 29, by another protest of 3000 people. Then on Wednesday, Feb. 1, AAAN organized a press conference protest at the Department of Homeland Security in downtown Chicago. Over 1000 people marched through the Loop to Federal Plaza.

In addition to the Arab American Action Network, leading and organizing the Trump resistance of the past week and a half in Chicago has been AnakBayan, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Black Lives Matter, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Teachers Union, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Korean Resource and Cultural Center, National Immigrant Justice Center, Organized Communities Against Deportations, PASO - West Suburban Action Project, United African Organization and many others.[6]

References

  1. Committee to Stop FBI Repression: Who are the targets of the FBI and Grand Jury Witch Hunt? (accessed on Nov. 23, 2010)
  2. [org/2013/12/6/peoples-thanksgiving-dinner-raises-funds-rasmea-odeh-defense]
  3. FB News, Major anti-imperialist conference held in Chicago By Joe Iosbaker | October 25, 2016
  4. [1]
  5. [FightBack! News, Second night of protests against Muslim ban at Chicago O'Hare airport By staff | January 29, 2017]
  6. http://www.fightbacknews.org/2017/2/5/thousands-join-8-days-resistance-trump-s-executive-orders-chicago FB News, Thousands join ‘8 Days of Resistance’ to Trump’s executive orders in Chicago By staff | February 5, 2017]