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Remembering Alex Odeh: 33 Years Later Still No Justice

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | October 11, 2018 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) commemorates the life of Alex Odeh, ADC’s Southern California Regional Director, who was tragically assassinated on October 11, 1985. Today marks the 33rd Anniversary of the terrorist attack in Santa Ana, California, where Mr. Odeh was killed when a pipe bomb exploded as he opened the door of the ADC office. In addition to killing Alex Odeh, the act of terrorism injured several other victims.

Although it has been over three decades since the terrorist attack there still have been no arrests, and those who killed Alex have not been brought to justice. One of the primary suspects in the case, Robert Manning, is currently in prison for the murder of Ms. Patricia Wilkerson, 32, a secretary at the Prowest Computer Corp. Manning was extradited to the U.S. from Israel to face murder charges in the Wilkerson case. Manning is scheduled for a parole hearing later this year – if granted parole there is a high likelihood that he would elude justice in the Odeh case by fleeing back to Israel, where he would be welcomed by Jewish extremists.

Alex Odeh dedicated his life to ADC and social justice. Joining the organization in 1982, Mr. Odeh was at the forefront of combatting the stereotyping of Arabs and biased reporting on the Mideast in the media. Mr. Odeh fought tirelessly to build inter-faith unity between Jews, Muslims and Christians in Southern California. On the day of his assassination, he was scheduled to give a speech at Congregation B’nai Tzadek, a Jewish synagogue in Fountain Valley.

Prior to Mr. Odeh’s assassination, he was subjected to numerous hate-motivated threats to his life and safety because of his advocacy for Arab and Palestinian-American rights. An exemplary civil rights activist, he was dynamic and he never let the threats deter him from his work.

Following Mr. Odeh’s assassination in 1985, the FBI classified the bombing as an act of domestic terrorism and designated the investigation into the case as the highest national priority. However, despite solid leads, advancements in technology and forensics which should have aided in the investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators, no arrest has been made.

The FBI’s case into Mr. Odeh’s murder remains open, with a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Press reports have stated over the years that the FBI identified members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) as suspects. However, none of the identified JDL individuals, including Manning, have ever been charged or prosecuted in connection with the murder.

ADC continues to reinforce its demand that those responsible for Odeh’s murder be brought to justice. ADC has maintained pressure on the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the Odeh murder investigation. ADC will be taking a stand against the parole of Manning, and will continue to pressure the FBI and DOJ to find the culprits of the Santa Ana terror attack, and to inform the public of the efforts they are making to bring Odeh’s murderers to justice.

The resurgence of the JDL has also been a major concern of ADC. The JDL has increased its hate-based activities, including physically assaulting peaceful Arab protesters outside the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington D.C. and threatening prominent Palestinian-American activists. The JDL has, in the past, proven to be a formidable terrorist organization in the U.S., most notably credited with bombings and attempted bombings around Los Angeles and New York City in the 1980’s and early 2000’s. Stopping the resurgence of the JDL and its hate-based actions are of the utmost importance to ADC.

This year ADC will be hosting the National Convention in Anaheim, California, and will be honoring the memory of Alex Odeh during the Saturday Evening Alex Odeh Memorial Gala. The dinner is held annually to celebrate ADC’s civil rights achievements over the prior year and to celebrate Odeh’s enduring legacy as a staunch civil rights advocate.