LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Lawyers for the Jewish Defense League have asked the FBI to retract a statement blaming the militant group for the Oct. 11 bombing that killed Arab- American civil rights activist Alex Odeh.

In a telegram mailed to the FBI on Tuesday, attorney Gary Fleischman described the FBI's claim that the JDL was responsible for the bombing of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee office as ''patently untrue.''

Alex Odeh, regional director of the committee, was killed when the bomb exploded as he opened the door to the Santa Ana office.

The day before the bombing, Odeh had appeared on television news programs praising Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat for his role in winning the release of hostages on the hijacked Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro.

Last week, FBI spokesman Lane Bonner said the agency believed the JDL was responsible for the bombing that killed Odeh.

Bonner acknowledged receiving the telegram but offered no comment.

''We have said all we are going to say on the matter. It's under investigation,'' he said.

In an interview, Fleischman characterized the FBI's statement as ''character assassination with impunity.''

He compared the statement to U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy's attack on alleged communists in the 1950s.

''Either indict them or don't. But don't accuse a whole organization of murder,'' Fleischman said. ''It's un-American.''

JDL leader Irv Rubin has threatened to sue the FBI if the agency didn't arrest a JDL member for the bombing.

Fleischman said a lawsuit might be futile because of federal immunity but added that he hopes the threat will convince Bonner to ''keep his mouth shut next time.''