Killers at Kiryat Arba
VICTIM; Alex Odeh with family. Had been due to speak at Fountain Valley synagogue when murdered by the JDL
THE news that the so-called Jewish Defence League had popped up in Croydon at the weekend, in the shape of a person claiming to be a spokesman appearing with the English Volunteer Force, led me to reflect that a lot of people will be too young to remember what this inoccuous-sounding "defence" group got up to in its American cradle, and others may have forgotten.
But my fellow-blogger Asa Winstanley reminded us the other day about a crime committed in 1985, and is still awaiting justice. Palestinian-American civil rights leader Alex Odeh was killed that year in a bomb attack on the California offices of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).
Odeh, the ADC's Southern California regional director, was killed on October 11, 1985, when a powerful pipe bomb exploded as he unlocked and opened the door of the ADC office in Santa Ana, California. In addition to killing Odeh, the bomb injured several other victims. According to press reports, the FBI identified members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) as suspects in this act of domestic terrorism.
Alex’s brother Sami passed away on 6 June after a long illness. “We regret that Sami Odeh never lived to see justice served for Alex’s death, but are hopeful that this case will be solved soon,” ADC wrote in a press release earlier this month.
The next day Congressperson Loretta Sanchez, who represents Santa Ana where the bombing took place, sent a letter to the attorney general requesting an update on the status of the case:
Close to 28 years have passed since the death of Alex Odeh … To this day, no arrests have been made and no one has been held accountable for the attack. The FBI’s case into Alex Odeh’s murder remains open, and is classified as a “priority investigation.”Given the priority status of this case, I am requesting an update on this open case, as I believe the Odeh family deserve closure.
Some friends remembered the work Alex Odeh did and give some idea how he and those he worked with became targets.
ADC communications director Raed Jarrar told Asa that repeated efforts had been made to have the US authorities act to bring the killers to justice. Marking 27 years after the bombing, ADC in October had sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder — but Holder never replied. Jarrar said that getting members of Congress to put pressure on Eric Holder for an update made it harder for him to ignore, and ADC is encouraging people to write to their elected officials about the case via their website.
Sheila Jackson Lee, one of the members of Congress who spoke at the ADC convention, compared the case to Medgar Evers, a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People activist who was murdered by a white supremacist in 1963. It took more than 30 years, but eventually Evers’ killer was jailed for the remainder of his life.
The NAACP’s president Benjamin Jealous gave the keynote address at the convention and promised to send out an action alert to the NAACP’s 670,000 subscribers on the 28th anniversary of Odeh’s murder in October, asking members to request an update on the case from the FBI.
The Jewish Defense League was founded in 1968 by Meir Kahane in New York. Kahane later moved to Israel and founded Kach, which was banned as a terrorist group even by Israel and the US. Kahane, who was once elected to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, openly called for all Palestinians to be expelled from the West Bank.
Irv Rubin, JDL chair at the time of the bombing, said “Odeh got what he deserved,” but denied responsibility. In 2002 he died in jail while awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to bomb a mosque and an Arab American politician (for which his JDL comrade Earl Krugel eventually received 20 years).
According to the LA Times, former JDL members Keith Fuchs, Andy Green and Robert Manning were privately named by Rubin to Krugel as being part of the plot against Odeh. Manning was extradited back to the US in the early 1990s and is serving a life term over a different bomb plot. But Fuchs and Green are said to be living comfortably in Kiryat Arba, a Zionist settlement in Hebron.
Asa asks a pertinent question:
"Why is the US government not requesting their extradition? Why is little or nothing being done to advance this supposedly “priority investigation” while at the same time the FBI chases whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, (who revealed the NSA’s secret PRISM internet snooping system)?"
ROBERT MANNING, one of killers, extradited for another crime.