New film on unsolved terrorist attack that murdered Palestinian-American leader nearly three decades ago

Alex Odeh (FBI photo)

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) last week marked 27 years since the murder by bombing of Alex Odeh with a minute of silence and a call to action. Odeh, a Palestinian originally from Jifna, a West Bank village near the university town of Birzeit, was the ADC’s leader in California.

In a press release, the ADC promoted this new short film which gives a good overview of the case, which remains unsolved to this day. The ADC said in an email to EI that the film was made by an ADC activist. It’s well worth a watch as it contains contemporary TV news reports about this 1985 terrorist attack.

Despite a number of leads linking the bombing to the Jewish Defense League (JDL), the case remains unsolved by the FBI, who have yet to charge a single suspect. The prime suspects are reported to have fled to Israel.

From the ADC press release:

Last week, ADC sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Department of Justice to renew their genuine efforts in resolving the case. ADC has made a formal request for a meeting with the attorney general to discuss the case.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) case into Alex Odeh’s murder remains open, with a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to an arrest and conviction. However, no arrest has yet been made in spite of the fact that press reports have stated over the years that the FBI identified members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) as suspects. None of the identified JDL individuals has ever been charged or prosecuted in connection with the murder, and some have fled to Israel.

ADC President Warren David stated, “The unlawful killing of Alex Odeh is an injustice to his family, the Arab American community and to all Americans. After 27 years we are still outraged. We demand that the DOJ and the FBI bring closure to this heinous act immediately.”

ADC and the Arab American community are deeply troubled that the perpetrators have been at large for nearly three decades, despite all the available leads to resolving Alex’s murder. The lack of closure of Alex’s murder by the FBI and the Department of State (DOS) has been viewed as a sign that the life of an American civil rights advocate with Palestinian roots is not valued by the U.S. Government as much as other American lives.

The ADC is calling for action, and asking people to sign its petition, and to tweet #Justice4AlexOdeh to put pressure on the US authorities to bring the perpetrators of this terrorist attack to justice.

The JDL is a Zionist terrorist group that in 1968 was founded in New York by the notorious racist “Rabbi” Meir Kahane. One of its slogans was “every Jew a .22” (“[give] every Jew a point-two-two” — a reference to .22 caliber rifle). Kahane, who was later elected to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, openly called for the Palestinians to be expelled from the West Bank. To this day, many Israeli settlers and racists maintain the slogan “Kahane was right”. JDL has spawned imitators in Europe and Canada.

It’s a sign of the double standards of the American justice system that Odeh’s killers have not been brought to book. Is the FBI too busy entrapping Muslim teenagers in imaginary terrorist plots, or is someone being protected here?

Update: In an email to EI, the ADC say they have received no reply to its letter to Eric Holder.


Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London. He is an associate editor of The Electronic Intifada and co-host of our podcast.

He is author of the bestselling book Weaponising Anti-Semitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn (OR Books, 2023).