I. THE JDL ATTACKS
A time bomb exploded at the Lebanese consulate in an office building here Thursday, less than eight minutes after a man discovered the device and ran through the halls of the building yelling for people to get out.
The explosion tore a 3-by-4 foot hole in the hallway wall of the consulate on the seventh floor of the 12-story Allstate Title Building on Hollywood blvd. It shattered glass panels fronting other offices on the floor and ripped out hall light fixtures. No one was hurt.
Wadih N. Dib, Lebanese consul general in Los Angeles, was found seated amid piles of debris in the wrecked consulate after the blast, stunned but unhurt.
"Who would do this?" he asked.
— "Lebanese Consulate Bombed In Hollywood." Los Angeles Times (June 2, 1972)
Five members of the Jewish Defense League, including its West Coast coordinator, were under arrest here today on charges of bombing the Hollywood home of a Palestinian immigrant. The pipe bomb blast early Wednesday morning damaged the apartment of Mohammed Shaath, 32, and flying debris narrowly missed Mrs. Shaath and their two infant children. Shaath was not at at the time. Detectives said Shaath recently appeared in a television debate with Irving Rubin, 27, the JDL coordinator.
[. . .]
Shortly after the explosion, an anonymous caller told a news service office by telephone that "I have just bombed an Arab house in Hollywood in revenge for the killing of Israeli athletes in Munich. This must not be allowed to happen again. Never again."
The arrests took place a week after JDl members had demonstated peacefully in front of the Lebanese consul here, in protest against the Munich murders. Police permitted the demonstraters to carry unloaded riles. Rubin told reporters then that "Jews will seek Arab blood" but carefully avoided any suggestions that JDL members would do so.
— "5 Jdlers Arrested on Charges of Bombing Palestinian's Home." Jewish Telegraphic Agency (September 17, 1972)
Two people were arrested early Thursday in connection with a bomb blast at a Beverly Hills theater, where British actress Vanessa Redgrave's film, "The Palestinian," was scheduled to be shown tonight.
[. . .]
Contacted in London about the bombing, Miss Redgrave told The Times, "I regret the incidents which have taken place concerning my documentary film, 'The Palestinians.' But this has not been my making.
"The film was made for serious-minded audiences who judge for themselves the truth about the Palestinian struggle under the leadership of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization."
— "Two Suspects in Blast at Theater Arrested." Los Angeles Times (June 16, 1978)
On the morning of Oct. 11, 1985 Alex Odeh made his way to his Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee office in Santa Ana, California. Odeh was likely tired as he climbed to the second-story office — he had been up past midnight the night before, appearing on a late-night talk show where he condemned the killing days earlier of Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year old Jewish New Yorker shot and dumped into the Mediterranean by Palestinian gunmen aboard the Achille Lauro cruis ship. On the show, Odeh had also repeated his oft-stated belief that peace and cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis was not only necessary, it was possible.
The group's West Coast coordinator, Alex had a busy day in front of him. He was to speak that evening at Friday prayer services at Congregation B'Nai Tzedek, a synagogue in Fountain Valley.
He wouldn't make it. Around 9 a.m. Odeh unlocked the door to the 17th Street office, triggering a powerful pipe bomb that ripped through his face and chest. (The blast also blew out office windows, injuring seven passersby on the street below.) According to his brother Sami — who still lives in Orange, California —Alex also inhaled enough hot blast chemicals to cook his lungs from the inside.
— "Twenty years later, still no charges in Alex Odeh assassination." The Electronic Intifada (December 6, 2006)
II. THE INS ATTACKS
|The Los Angeles Eight: front row from left, Michel Ibrahim Shihadeh, Khader Musa Hamide, Julie Nuangugi Mungai, Bashar Amer, and back row, Ayam Mustafa Obeid, Aiad Khaled Barakat, Naim Nadim Sharif, Amjad Mustafa Obeid.|
It was the West Coast, not the West Bank, but for many Palestinians, the unfolding dragnet scenario had an all-too-familiar ring.
Shortly after dawn on the morning of January 26, agents of the FBI, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and local police arrested eight Palestinians and the Kenyan-born wife of one of them.
"War on Terrorism Hits L.A.," a banner headline in the Herald-Examiner proclaimed. And the nine were treated like international criminals of the worst order. Shackles on their arms, legs and waist, they were denied food and water for nine hours, placed in cells with lights glaring round the clock and not allowed to shower. Two days later they were led — still shackled — before and immigration judge (and the media) for their initial hearing on charges of disturbing subversive literature.
[. . .]
"This is old fashioned Arab-bashing," said ACLU's Rosenbaum. "And I think there are officials in the government who are using INS as it has historically been used — as a henchman of the government. They want to stop Arab thought, Arab belief, Arab discussion of issues in this country. What [this case] said to Arabs in this country is 'shut up...shut up or get out of here, you're not to be part of the American dialogue.' I think the US government for the first time thinks it has a Palestinian policy by moving against these young people."
— Judith Gabriel, "Palestinians Arrested in Los Angeles Witch-Hunt." Middle East Report (March/April 1987)
Ten years after their January 1987 arrest, the Los Angeles Eight are still on trial. While the courts continue to debate the case, the seven Palestinians and one Kenyan continue to face speration from the famalies and homelands and the prospect of forced deportation. Initialyy under the McCarthy-era McCarran-Walter Act — provisions not used since the anti-Communist attacks of the 1950s — the eight were accused of being members of, or supporting, an orginization that advocated "world communism — specificaally the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), one of the constituent organizations of the PLO. The Immigration and Naturalizaion Service (INS) quickly dropped the political charges against the six non-US residents whom it then accused to technical visa violations, and charged the two permanent US residents with associating with an organization (the PFLP) that advocates the destruction of property.
— Phyllis Bennis, "Ten Years of the Los Angeles Eight Deportation Case." Middle East Report (Spring 1997)
In the eighteen years since the arrests, the case has taken many twists and turns, including an evidentiary hearing lasting six weeks over the course of two and one half years, four trips to the appeals court, and review by the Supreme Court. It produced landmark court rulings upholding the First Amendment rights of noncitizens and rejecting the government's attempts to target political activity, only to see them reversed by the Supreme Court. Other rulings limiting the discretion of the government to use secret evidence in the name of national security still stand. Through it all, the government never showed or even alleged that the LA 8 were engaged in any terrorist activity or supported any unlawful activities of the PFLP. The eight were never charged with a crime, or under any of the deportation provisions addressing actual criminal conduct or conduct threatening national security.
— David Cole & James X. Dempsey, Terrorism and the Constitution (2006)
Some good news, for a change: The excruciating ordeal of the Los Angeles Eight is finally over. On October 30, federal prosecutors gave up on their efforts to deport Khader Hamide and Michel Shehadeh, the last of the seven Palestinians and one Kenyan arrested in 1987 on patently silly anti-terrorism charges whose cases remained before the courts.
The tale of the LA Eight is an odoriferous stew of anti-Arab and immigrant bashing racism, FBI machismo, Justice department malevolence and laws aimed at criminalizing political thought.
— "From the Editors." Middle East Report (Winter 2007)