- Executive Director of the Arab American Action Network
A first-generation Palestinian American whose parents were born near Jerusalem, Hatem Abudayyeh is the Executive Director of the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network. He is also a member of the Palestine Solidarity Group of Chicago, an organization that sends activists from the United States on “educational delegations” to the Palestinian territories, where they are indoctrinated with the propaganda of pro-Palestinian militants.
Abudayyeh has strongly opposed precautions taken by the FBI and other federal agencies to guard against possible terrorist activity in the post-9/11 era. In a 2003 interview, Abudayyeh complained that “draconian measures” -- most notably the USA PATRIOT Act -- “and indiscriminate detentions and deportations have destabilized and criminalized Arab communities across the United States.” He lamented that “there has been an astonishing 50 percent drop in the U.S. government's acceptance of visitors' visa applications from Arab and Muslim countries.” He charged that “there have been racist attacks on mosques and churches … as well as dozens of incidents of physical attacks on Arab and Muslim men, youth, and women—especially against females who wear the traditional Muslim headdress, the hijab.” And he condemned “U.S. imperialism and its goals of hegemony over the Arab world and beyond.”
According to Abudayyeh, “The same [American capitalist] system that oppresses workers and poor people in this country has been doing the same in the Arab world, Africa, Latin America, and Asia, draining those regions' natural and human resources to profit multi-national corporations and the American ruling class.”
Impugning “the historical racial profiling and anti-immigrant policies of the U.S. government,” Abudayyeh contends that a “movement for true racial and social justice must include the unity of the multinational working class with the oppressed nationalities of this country.”
Abudayyeh’s contempt for America is matched by his hatred for Israel, whose 1948 creation he references by the term Al Nakba (Arabic for “The Catastrophe”). According to Abudayyeh, the Palestinian “right of return” is “inseparable” from the liberation of what he calls “historic Palestine” -- a “liberation” that can be achieved only by destroying Israel.
In July 2006 the Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah conducted a surprise raid on a border post in northern Israel, taking two IDF soldiers captive and wounding eleven others; this action prompted Israel to retaliate militarily. Abudayyeh’s depiction of these events was as follows: “The Israeli government and its military killing machine has again attacked Lebanon as they did in 1982, one of the most brutal invasions in the long history of their aggression against the Palestinians and Arabs.”
Accusing Israel of launching an unprovoked invasion and “causing a massive humanitarian crisis” in Lebanon, Abudayyeh charged that the United States was “encouraging Israeli aggression” because America’s “imperialist interests are safeguarded by the proxy Israeli state.” “The U.S. is directly waging war and occupying Iraq, the eastern front of the Arab world,” Abuddayeh elaborated, “and Israel provides the control and domination of the western front. This is the relationship between Israel and the U.S., and this is why we must transform American society and systems of oppression while supporting the national liberation struggles of the Palestinians and others throughout the world.”
In Abuddayeh's view: “The U.S. and Israel will continue to describe Hamas, Hezbollah and the other Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organizations as ‘terrorists,’ but the real terrorists are the governments and military forces of the U.S. and Israel. The vast majority of the world sees and understands this, and are in full support of Lebanese, Palestinian and worldwide resistance to Israel and the U.S.’s naked aggression, war, imperialism and occupation.”
In an interview with Dollars and Sense, Abudayyeh defended the Global Relief Foundation (a charity shut down by the United States for funneling money to terrorist groups) and its imprisoned co-founder Rabih Haddad.