Jewish man dies following attack at pro-Palestinian protest in Los Angeles

Paul Kessler died at hospital on Monday after being hit on the head by a megaphone


A Jewish man in Los Angeles has died after being struck on the head with a megaphone during a pro-Palestinian demonstration.

Paul Kessler, 69, died at a hospital on Monday after getting into a confrontation during protests over Israel and Palestine.

According to the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, he was attacked during pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Thousand Oaks, a northwest suburb of LA.

Rabbi Noah Farkas, president of the LA community, told reporters that Kessler was struck in the head by a megaphone held by a pro-Palestinian demonstrator.

Rabbi Farkas said federation officials weren’t at the scene or involved in the demonstrations.

According to a statement from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department witnesses said Kessler, was involved in a “physical altercation” with one or more counter-protesters.

They reported that he fell backward and struck his head on the ground.

The department said: “Witness accounts indicated that Kessler was involved in a physical altercation with counter-protestor(s). During the altercation, Kessler fell backwards and struck his head on the ground. Kessler was transported to an area hospital for advanced medical treatment” and died from his injuries the next day.

The Ventura County Medical Examiner said the cause of death was homicide by blunt force head trauma.

Soon after the attack, Rabbi Michael Barclay of Temple Ner Simcha in Westlake Village, called on people not to jump to conclusions about what had happened.

Posting on X/Twitter he said: "I just got off the phone with the Chief of Police. They have conflicting reports of what happened, and they did interview the suspect that is identified in social media at the event. They have no video.”

He said it was important the event did not "become a spark that starts an inferno."

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement calling Kessler’s death a “tragic and shocking loss.”

The statement said: "While we strongly support the right of political debate, CAIR-LA and the Muslim community stand with the Jewish community in rejecting any and all violence, antisemitism, Islamophobia, or incitement of hatred."

The Sheriff’s Department scheduled a news conference for Tuesday morning.

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