A 69-year-old Jewish man, Paul Kessler, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Monday, a day after being struck in the head with a megaphone by an anti-Israel demonstrator in Thousand Oaks, California, a suburban community northwest of Los Angeles.
A video circulating on social media shows Kessler lying on the ground and bleeding from his head after the incident at the intersection of Westlake Boulevard and Thousand Oaks Boulevard.
Content warning ⚠️ – an elderly Jewish man has been killed by a pro Palestinian protestor who hit him over the head with a megaphone at yesterday’s Israel rally.
Sadly, the victim has passed away from internal bleeding.
May his memory be a blessing and his attacker be… pic.twitter.com/41ZXNutwvK
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) November 7, 2023
“We are 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 in Westlake Village,” the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said in a statement on Monday. “Our hearts are with the family of the victim. 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. We demand safety. We will not tolerate violence against our community. We will do everything in our power to prevent it.”
— Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles (@JFedLA) November 7, 2023
As of Monday evening, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department had not announced whether a suspect had been identified or arrested in the case. More details were expected to be publicized at a Tuesday morning press conference.
An autopsy performed by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be blunt force head injury and the manner of death homicide.
Read the “Death Investigation” alert from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department HERE.
“This horrendous crime is the terrible realization of our fears that have been mounting over recent weeks as we’ve witnessed a global explosion of antisemitic hatred triggered by Hamas’ brutal massacre of 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7,” Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa said. “We demand the perpetrator of this act of murder be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we urge Jewish communities everywhere to exercise extra security vigilance in the days, weeks, and months ahead, as events in the Middle East continue to incite those who seek us harm.”
A regularly-updated CAM database of antisemitic incidents worldwide since Oct. 7 can be accessed HERE.