update deskAntisemitism

Jewish man dead after ‘altercation’ with anti-Israel protester in LA area

"The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident and has not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime," per a release.

A police officer in Ventura, Calif. Credit: Glenn Highcove/Shutterstock.
A police officer in Ventura, Calif. Credit: Glenn Highcove/Shutterstock.

Paul Kessler, a 69-year-old Jewish man, died from injuries sustained in “an altercation” at about 3:20 p.m. on Sunday in the greater Los Angeles area. At the time, there were simultaneous “pro-Israeli” and “pro-Palestinian” events at the same intersection, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

“During the altercation, Kessler fell backwards and struck his head on the ground,” per the sheriff’s office. He was treated at a local hospital before succumbing to his injuries.

The sheriff’s office “is investigating the incident and has not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime,” it stated in a release.

“An autopsy was performed on Nov. 6 and the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be blunt force head injury and the manner of death homicide,” per the sheriff’s office. “The incident appears to be isolated and not part of a large effort.”

Sheriff James “Jim” Fryhoff will hold a press conference on Tuesday at 10 a.m. “regarding the recent death of a pro-Israeli protester that occurred in the city of Thousand Oaks on Nov. 5 during simultaneous pro-Israeli/pro-Palestinian demonstrations that were taking place in proximity to one another,” the sheriff’s office stated.

According to a statement from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles earlier in the day, the victim was killed in Westlake Village, in the greater Los Angeles area, after an anti-Israel protestor struck him in the head with a megaphone.

“Our hearts are with the family of the victim,” the Federation said. “While we wait for more information from our law-enforcement partners, we remind you that this is the fourth major antisemitic crime committed in Los Angeles this year alone.”

“Violence against our people has no place in civilized society,” it added. “We demand safety. We will not tolerate violence against our community. We will do everything in our power to prevent it.”

Photos and videos on social media, which blurred the face of the victim, appeared to show a man bleeding from his head lying on the ground.

Israeli media referred to the victim as “an older Jewish man” and the alleged attacker as a “young pro-Palestinian protester.”

“The injured man fell to the ground bleeding and was rushed to the hospital. His death was confirmed to have been caused due to a brain hemorrhage,” per reports. “Israelis who were present at the scene described it as ‘a terrifying sight’ and expressed shock that such an incident took place in their neighborhood.”

Fox News reported that the anti-Israel protestor threw the megaphone at the pro-Israel victim.

Late last month, Dylan Mann, a Jewish freshman at Tulane University in New Orleans, told JNS that an anti-Israel protestor hit him in the face with a megaphone, breaking his nose. “They instantly broke my nose with that,” Mann said.

“It was just unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced before,” Mann added. “I was mostly just in shock. You see the monsters and what they do on videos, and you hear on the news, but when you’re really experiencing it, it’s a new level of shock.”

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