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They Can’t Let Just Anybody in You Know

October 2, 2010

A guest at the Obama White House:

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.

“He attended a briefing held by the Office of Public Engagement on April 22, 2010, to update members of the Arab-American community on issues of their concern,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye said.

The guest list for the event was drafted by the Arab-American Institute. Inouye said President Barack Obama did not take part in the session, which appears to have involved more than 80 people.

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”).”

A search warrant served on a Minneapolis anti-war activist, Michael Kelly, ordered agents to seize records relating to Kelly’s travels to “Palestine, Colombia, and … within the United States.” It also mentions possible connections to Hezbollah.

Even if Abudayyeh’s home had not been raided by the FBI, you have to wonder what this guy is supposed to contribute at a meeting inside the White House:

In a 2006 interview with Fight Back News, an outlet run by Minneapolis activist Kelly, Abudayyeh seemed to disagree rather strenuously with at least some of the U.S. government’s use of the “terrorist” label.

“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,” Abudayyeh said. “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.”

But then again, we shouldn’t be surprised when we recall what kind of worldview Obama has:

Abudayyeh’s group, AAAN, briefly drew attention during the presidential campaign following reports that a foundation on whose board Obama served donated $40,000 to the group for “community organizing” in 2001. Conservative critics said the group and Abudayyeh have promoted anti-Israeli views. AAAN officials said the organization is strictly focused on local community issues and doesn’t get involved in international politics.

In 2003, Obama spoke at an AAAN-sponsored farewell dinner for Rashid Khalidi, a professor who was decamping from the University of Chicago to Columbia. During the 2008 campaign, the Los Angeles Times obtained a video of the event and reported that Obama lavished praise on Khalidi, who once served as a spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Other speakers at the event railed against Israeli policies.

Ah, the French Cowboy remembers that episode. Gotta love the Times‘ excuse for not publishing the video, by the way:

Late in the 2008 campaign, Republican nominee Sen. John McCain attacked the Times for failing to make the video public. The newspaper said it obtained the video on the condition that it not be released publicly.

Ha! Yeah, the delicate discretion of leftwing journalists! You bet they can keep a secret — the raison d’être of every good news outlet, right? — as long as it helps their side.

But back to Abudayyeh: of course the Obama White House is keen to stay in touch with a guy who

[…] runs like a social-welfare office that helps people get citizenship, apply for benefits, welfare if they’re entitled to it[.]

And that’s according to his lawyer.

Considering the despicable characters Obama calls — oops! used to call! — his friends, it’s no surprise an Abudayyeh gets to speak his mind at a White House event, while the family of a World War II hero can’t even get in for the tourist round.

D’ailleurs, and for more contrast, along with the Baker family a former Navy SEAL and FBI agent was turned down by the White House staffers for the tour because his background check hadn’t been finished in time. So I assume that Abudayyeh’s background check had been done and all was fine? Or do you need clearance only when you want to see the West Wing, not when you want to munch cookies with fellow anti-US and anti-Israel “activists” in some other part of the White House? Or was it that Abudayyeh simply adhered to the non-existent dress code by not wearing the portrait of a war hero on his t-shirt?

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