Jewish Man’s Death After Confrontation With Pro-Palestine Demonstrators Is Investigated as a Homicide

Paul Kessler, 69, died Monday from head injuries sustained during the altercation in Thousand Oaks, California

Paul Kessler Dies After Confrontation With Pro-Palestine Demonstrators
Via Downtown LA Scanner

A 69-year-old Jewish man’s death following a confrontation with pro-Palestine demonstrators in Thousand Oaks on Sunday is being investigated as a homicide, the Venture County Sheriff’s office said Monday.

Paul Kessler died Monday from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Sheriff’s office, which also 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.”

The Sheriff’s office has not ruled out that a hate crime occurred; no arrests have been made so far.

The incident occurred during competing rallies in support of Israel and Palestine held near the intersection of Westlake and Thousand Oaks Boulevard, right at the border between Westlake Village, which is in Los Angeles County, and Thousand Oaks, which is in Ventura County.

Details are not fully known, but according to ABC 7, there are witness reports that he was struck in the head by someone with a megaphone.

Video of the moment Kessler was injured has not emerged, but Downtown LA Scanner, posted video taken after Ventura County Sheriff’s officers had arrived on the scene. In the clip, Kessler can be seen lying on the ground being tended to by bystanders, including a woman wearing what appears to be Palestinian colors.

A photo of Kessler, said to be taken just before the incident, was later posted on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.

In a statement Monday night, the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations denounced antisemitism and called for people to wait until the investigation into Kessler’s death is complete before reaching any conclusions about what happened.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic and shocking loss. We join local Jewish leaders in calling on all individuals to refrain from jumping to conclusions, sensationalizing such a tragedy for political gains, or spreading rumors that could unnecessarily escalate tensions that are already at an all-time high,” CAIR-LA said.

“We urge everyone to wait for the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office to complete its investigation before drawing any conclusions. Our thoughts are with the family and the Jewish community during this difficult time,” the statement continued.

“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 statement concluded.

Comments

One response to “Jewish Man’s Death After Confrontation With Pro-Palestine Demonstrators Is Investigated as a Homicide”

  1. FreeRightsUS Avatar
    FreeRightsUS

    This should concern everyone and am glad for both the CAIR and ADL statements. Violence by anyone should be condemned.

    Unfortunately, CAIR and other Muslim groups who seek peace, coexistence and dialogue do not control or influence several pro-Palestinian groups including Students for Justice in Palestine.  SJP and other groups feel they are not represented by Muslim groups, their memberships and followers are not all Palestinian muslims.  This is unfortunate and has resulted in many acts of violence and threats, especially on college campuses.  \

    Too many have died in the Middle East over the years.  Violence is not the answer.  As a Jew, I will rely on the criminal justice system to bring the perpetuator to justice.  

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