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Palestinian activist Hatem Abudayyeh speaks in Twin Cities

“There is no crime in supporting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination”
By Mick Kelly |
February 23, 2013
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Hatem Abudayyeh at Minneapolis speaking event
Hatem Abudayyeh at Minneapolis speaking event (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN – A standing room only crowd of more than 125 people turned out here, Feb. 23, to hear Hatem Abudayyeh, a prominent Chicago-based Palestinian activist who talked about the growing struggle for the liberation of Palestine and the repression against Palestine solidarity activists here in the U.S.

Abudayyeh spoke on recent developments in Palestine, including the siege of Gaza, the hunger strike of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, and the growing isolation and desperation of the Israeli government.

Speaking of the heroic hunger strikes in the Israeli occupation prisons, Abudayyeh talked about the need for solidarity work in the U.S. and said that in Palestine the fight to free the prisoners created the basis to build more unity in the Palestinian national movement.

Abudayyeh is one of the anti-war and international solidarity activists who were raided by the FBI on Sept. 24, 2010. At the time, he received a subpoena to appear in front of a Chicago grand jury investigating “material support for terrorism,” and refused to go.

“The FBI and the Justice Department have been trying to repress the Palestinian national movement in the U.S. for many years,” said Abudayyeh. After telling the audience about the raid on his home and the raids directed against other anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists, he said, “There is no crime in supporting the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.”

On continuing the fight against repression, Abudayyeh said, “We need to keep going after the U.S. Attorneys’ office and demand they end the investigation.” He added that a protest was planned against Chicago’s Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas, who is helping to head up the investigation into the anti-war and international solidarity activists.

After Abudayyeh’s speech, there was a lively question and answer period. One of the questions dealt ties between the U.S. and Israel. “There is some confusion about the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. It is a proxy for the U.S. in the Arab world. It was established to block the aspirations of the Arab peoples. That is the role that it plays for U.S. imperialism.”

Another question came up about the goals of the Palestinian national movement and the issue of a one or ‘two state solution.’ Abudayyeh urged the establishment of a single, democratic, secular state in all of Palestine. Speaking of Israel, he said, “A racist colonial apartheid state has no right to exist.”

The event was endorsed by American Muslims for Palestine, Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Communities United Against Police Brutality, MayDay Bookstore, Middle East Peace Now, Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Students for a Democratic Society at the U of M, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace, the Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, and the Women's Student Activist Collective.

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