Statement from Sarah Smith, subpoenaed Palestine solidarity activist

Sarah SmithThe following statement is from Sarah Smith, one of the activists in Chicago subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury on January 25.

Friday morning, December 3,  I received a phone call from an FBI agent.   He asked if I had about 30 minutes to sit down and speak with him so he could ask me some questions.  I asked about what and he said  he “was not at liberty to discuss it.”  I then asked if I needed a lawyer present and he said it was up to me but that I was not in any trouble and that they just had a few questions. I felt something suspicious about him telling me he wanted to ask me some questions, but he would not tell me what these questions were.  So I said that I had to consult a lawyer and check my schedule and that I would get back to him.  I reiterated that it would be easier for me to meet him if I knew why an FBI agent wanted to sit down with me.  He then said that it had to deal with the trip I took this summer.  He then emphasized, “I think you know which one I’m talking about.”

The trip I took last summer was to Israel and Palestine. I am Jewish and wanted to see firsthand what life is like for Israelis and Palestinians. If I went on the standard tour to Israel, I would not be shown how Palestinians  live. So I went on a tour that showed me both worlds, Israel, and the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank.

I took a trip last summer to Israel and Palestine. I am Jewish and wanted to see first hand what life is like for Israelis and Palestinians. If I went on the standard tour to Israel, I would not be shown how Palestinians live. So I went on a tour that showed me both worlds, Israel, and the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank.

I went with 2 Palestinian-American friends. You would think Jews and Palestinians going together to visit Israel and Palestine is something the U.S. government would encourage.

Instead, all three of us are now being ordered by the FBI to go before a Grand Jury for going on that trip.

The US government says it supports peace between Israel and Palestine. It says it supports separate Israeli and Palestinian states. So why does the FBI investigate us because we went to see the Palestinian land? Top US government leaders meet with Palestinian leaders, so why does the FBI investigate us because we talked to average Palestinians on the street? I went there so I could make up my own mind and talk about what I saw. It seems to me our government wants to hide what Israel is doing to Palestinians.