October 11, 2010, marked the 25th anniversary of the murder of Alex Odeh. Alex was killed on October 11, 1985, when a powerful pipe bomb exploded as he unlocked and opened the door of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee office in Santa Ana, California. In addition to killing Alex Odeh, the bomb injured several other victims.
Alex was ADC’s Southern California Regional Director, a published poet, a lecturer of Arabic Language and Middle East history at Coastline College in Santa Ana, and a tireless peace activist. He dedicated his life to the defense of civil liberties at home, and civil and human rights abroad. On the day of his murder, Alex was scheduled to speak at Friday prayer services at Congregation B’Nai Tzadek, a synagogue in Fountain Valley, CA. Alex was a U.S. citizen and a Palestinian Roman Catholic, who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1972. He is survived by his wife Norma and their three daughters.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) case into Alex Odeh’s murder remains open, with an up to a $1 million reward 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 and the Arab-American community are deeply troubled that the perpetrators have been at large for 25 years, 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. ADC demands that the FBI and DOS show good faith by redoubling genuine efforts, and allocating necessary resources for resolving, once and for all, this domestic terrorism case. The Arab-American community will not rest until the perpetrators are brought to justice.
ADC President, Sara Najjar-Wilson, states: “Our entire community continues its deep concern for Alex’s family, urges that proactive action be taken against the perpetrators of Alex’s murder by our governmental authorities, and demands that those perpetrators be brought to justice. We call on the U.S. Attorney General, the Director of the FBI, and the Secretary of State to give high priority to this unsolved terrorist act, and to speedily and finally (after 25 years) help somewhat ease the pain of Alex’s family and friends.”