69-Year-Old Jewish Man Dies After Alleged Attack from Pro-Palestinian Protester

A 69-year-old Jewish man who was demonstrating his support for Israel died Sunday after an altercation with a pro-Palestinian demonstrator in Thousand Oaks, California. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Monday that Paul Kessler “died as a result of injuries sustained during an altercation at a Pro-Israeli / Pro-Palestinian event, both of which were occurring simultaneously at the intersection of Westlake Blvd. and Thousand Oaks Blvd.” The office “has not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime,” the release said. No arrest was announced in the release. Paramedics responded to a “fight in progress” Sunday and found Kessler injured, according to Andy VanSciver, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was taken to a hospital but died on Monday. “Witness accounts indicated that Kessler was involved in a physical altercation with counter-protestor(s),” the sheriff’s office release said. “During the altercation, Kessler fell backwards and struck his head on the ground,” the release said. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Kessler’s death a homicide due to blunt force head injury, the release said. Journalist Christina Buttons said in a post on X that a megaphone had been used to “bludgeon” Kessler. She shared images of protesters chanting as his ambulance left the scene, where his blood was still on the sidewalk. The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles said in a statement that it was “devastated to learn of the tragic death of an elderly Jewish man who was struck in the head by a megaphone wielded by a pro-Palestinian protestor.” “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,” it said in a post on X. “Violence against our people has no place in civilized society. We demand safety. We will not tolerate violence against our community. We will do everything in our power to prevent it,” the group said. Rabbi Michael Barclay of Temple Ner Simcha, which Kessler and his wife had attended, called Kessler “a man committed to peace and committed to Israel,” according to the Times.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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