(RepublicanJournal.org) – A “peaceful” protest against Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip has turned deadly. A 69-year-old Jewish man, exercising his right to protest, was assaulted by one of the pro-Palestine demonstrators, and died later in the hospital. Local Jewish activists are calling it anti-Semitism.
On November 5, a group of pro-Palestine demonstrators held a protest near the intersection of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Westlake Road in Thousand Oaks, California. The demonstration was somewhat provocative as Thousand Oaks has a significant Jewish population, and a group of residents mobilized to hold a pro-Israel rally at the same intersection. One of them was 69-year-old Paul Kessler, a well-known local activist who a newspaper editor said “attended many demonstrations related to the progressive causes.”
Sadly, this turned out to be Kessler’s last demonstration. Around 3:15 pm, as he stood there holding an Israeli flag, one of the pro-Palestine marchers hit him with a megaphone and knocked him backward and he hit his head on the ground. Kessler was taken to a nearby hospital but died of a brain bleed the next day. Local officials said the assailant called 911 after Kessler fell, and was “cooperative.” According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, multiple people called in the incident.
An autopsy has ruled that Kessler died by blunt force head injury and that his death was a homicide. However, officials haven’t yet classed it as a hate crime, although they say they’re keeping that possibility open. Others aren’t holding back, though. The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles put out a statement the day Kessler died, calling the assault the “fourth major antisemitic crime committed in Los Angeles this year alone.”
Video from the event shows pro-Palestine demonstrators continuing to chant slogans, including calling Israel a “terrorist state,” even as the bleeding victim was being loaded into an ambulance.
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