Civil Rights Activists, Supporters Gather to Discuss FBI Repression

Article excerpt

On Friday, March 4, Chicagoans concerned about civil rights abuses in America gathered at Aqsa School in Bridgeview, IL for a community forum entitled "Justice for all & all for Justice: Building Community Resistance to FBI & Grand Jury Repression."

The meeting addressed the recent FBI raid and grand jury subpoenas issued to 23 anti-war activists and supporters of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement (PSM) in Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. All 23 are resisting subpoenas to testify, invoking their rights under the Fifth Amendment. The FBI is focused on people supporting the PSM.

"Our government does not want us to see what's actually happening in Palestine," said Sarah Smith, one of the event's panelists. A Jewish American, she took a trip with two Palestinian-American friends to Tel Aviv and the West Bank last summer to sightsee and learn about the history of the land. Just a few months after returning, she was harassed by the FBI and subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury. The U.S. government's goal "is to intimidate the Palestinian Solidarity Movement," she said, "but I am not intimidated."

FBI agents raided the home of Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab-American Action Network (AAAN), on Sept. 24, 2010, and subsequently subpoenaed the longtime activist for the Palestinian liberation movement. "This happened now because people in the U. …