By Melanie Nathan, February 02, 2016.
Last week I posted a short list, naming some of the participants in an anti-Israel protest at the National LGBTQ Task Force conference, Creating Change 2016. Approximately 200 protesters marched through the Hilton Hotel, Chicago, causing a near riot and shutting down a Jewish Shabbat reception put on by A Wider Bridge (AWB), a San Francisco based LGBTQ Jewish organization. The protesters bellowed megaphone-led anti-Israel chants, calling for the eradication of Israel. Many photographs and videos have been uploaded to the internet, recording the mayhem, which caused an outcry among the LGBTQ community, with demands for an investigation.
Since posting the list, I have received several tips naming other participants to the protest. It is interesting to note that some of the participants may have been from the Chicago based anti-Israel community with no connection to the LGBTQ community, in general. Were they there as opportunists to a truly organic uprising by LGBTQ attendees against fellow LGBTQ Jews or were the LGBTQ attendees led entirely from outside interests, seizing the opportunity to take advantage of our community’s intersections. By examining the prior list one can see it is probably a measure of both! (SEE First LIST )
Here is an interesting ‘participant’ and I can only ask the questions at this point. He does not seem to be wearing a Creating Change Registration badge. I ask:
Could this be Hatem Abuddayeh at Creating Change 2016? Hatem Abuddayeh was once a focus of a federal terrorism-support investigation:
Here is the VIDEO with Hatem at the protest:
Windy City Times: Creating Change protest vs. A Wider Bridge reception, Video 7, 1-22-2016, clearly seen at minute 4:12
Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director of Arab American Action Network (AAAN)
Hatem Abudayyeh has been with the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) since 1999, and was appointed Executive Director in 2003. The son of Palestinian immigrants, who themselves were leaders in Chicago’s Arab community, Hatem was born in Chicago.
Back in 2010 the FBI raided his home, in connection with a terrorism investigation:
“An Arab-American activist who attended an outreach session at the White House complex in April had his Chicago home raided by the FBI last week and appears to be a focus of an unfolding federal terrorism-support investigation.
Hatem Abudayyeh, who serves as executive director of the Arab-American Action Network, took part in a meeting for Arab-American leaders held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on April 22, according to appointment data posted on the White House website.
Last Friday, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Abudayyeh’s Chicago home as part of a coordinated series of raids involving at least one other Chicago site, along with the homes of anti-war activists in Minnesota. A copy posted on the web of a grand jury subpoena served on one target of the raids in Minneapolis demands “all records of any payment provided directly or indirectly to Hatem Abudayyeh, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“PFLP”) or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”).”
Andy Thayer, a very vocal participant in the Creating Change 2016 protest against A Wider Bridge, was also targeted in the same series of FBI terrorism related raids. Are they firends? Did they connect on this protest? Did they plan it together? Did they communicate about it at all?
Hatem’s associate director at AAAN was Rasmea Odeh (court documents spell her name Rasmieh Odeh, ) who spent 10 years in an Israeli prison for a terror bombing in Jerusalem which killed two people. Odeh was traded in a prisoner swap after serving only ten years out of her life term for the murders and the attack. Rasmea Odeh, is now free on bail here in the USA, as she appeals a prison sentence and deportation case for immigration fraud. Some people have reported seeing Rasmea Odeh at the Conference, but I cannot be sure.
Who is Odeh?
Accoring to Wikipedia: Rasmea Yousef Odeh (born 1947/1948; also known as Rasmea Yousef, Rasmieh Steve, and Rasmieh Joseph Steve) is a Palestinian woman and former United States citizen (she was stripped of her US citizenship for immigration fraud). She served as associate director at the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, Illinois.
Odeh was convicted in 1970 by an Israeli military court of involvement in fatal terrorist bombings, and in 2014 by a US federal jury of immigration fraud. She was sentenced to life in prison in Israel for her involvement in two terrorist bombings in Jerusalem in 1969, one of which killed two people, and involvement in an illegal organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She spent 10 years in prison before she was released in a prisoner exchange with the PFLP in 1980.
Odeh was convicted of immigration fraud on November 10, 2014, by a jury in federal court in Detroit, Michigan, for concealing her arrest, conviction, and imprisonment for a fatal terrorist bombing. She was taken into custody on November 10, and on December 11 was released on bond pending sentencing. Odeh’s counsel maintains she did not receive a “full and fair trial” because the judge would not allow her to testify to her claim that she was tortured by the Israeli military, which he ruled irrelevant to the issue of whether she lied on her immigration application. On February 13, 2015, federal Judge Gershwin A. Drain denied Odeh’s request that he either overturn the federal jury’s conviction of her or grant her a new trial. He ruled that her argument lacked legal merit, that evidence showed that Odeh illegally obtained U.S. citizenship by failing to disclose her conviction for the fatal bombings, that the jurors “clearly did not believe [her] explanation”, and that “the evidence was more than sufficient to support the jury’s verdict.”
Odeh was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on March 12, 2015, stripped of her US citizenship, and will be deported from the United States to Jordan once she is done serving her time. She is free on bail while she appeals.”
Is that picture Hatem Abudayeh, seen at Creating Change 2016 and if so what is his connection to the LGBTQ community? I guess this was an “intersection” moment!
I received a photograph of someone asserting that it was Odeh, also at Creating Change, but do not want to put that picture up unless I am certain. Anyone with more information is welcome to let me know.
In moving forward, it is my hope that Rea Carey of National LGBTQ Task Force, the Creating Change organizer, will launch a sincere and robust investigation into the Creating Change Debacle and that a report will be made public. It is also my hope that all e-mails and communications that preceded the initial cancellation of the event and all relevant communications, thereafter, will be made public, or released to an independent investigation, so we can more fully understand the driving forces that led to the initial cancellation and the subsequent reinstatement. We want to understand how this was protest was allowed to turn into the near antisemitic riot that occurred.
Melanie Nathan, [email protected] #CC16 #CC2016
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