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Jewish man killed at pro-Palestinian rally in California, struck in the head with a megaphone

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Rival Israel and Palestine rallies in California turned deadly after an elderly Jewish man succumbed to a head injury sustained during a tussle and died.

“Paul Kessler, 69, was caught up in rival rallies in Thousand Oaks on Sunday – one in support of Israel and the other backing the Palestinian cause,” Daily Mail reported. “Kessler is understood to have been involved in a tussle with another person where he fell backward and hit his head on the ground.”

He died at the hospital, and after an investigation and autopsy, it was determined he “died as a result of a blunt force head injury and called the manner of death a homicide,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

The victim’s wife was, understandably, “in a state of total shock” according to rabbi Moshe Bryski who spoke to the New York Post.

The incident took place Sunday afternoon at the intersection of Westlake Boulevard and Thousand Oaks Boulevard.

“Kessler, of Thousand Oaks, was struck in the head, knocked backward and hit his head on the ground, deputies said,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Paramedics responded to a “fight in progress” and found the victim suffering a head injury, according to Andy VanSciver, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. Kessler was transported to a local hospital, where he died Monday,” the outlet continued. “No arrests had been made as of Monday night, and the investigation remains ongoing.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles claimed Kessler 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,” the Federation said in a statement. “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.”

“I’m heartbroken to hear of the tragic death of an elderly man today after having been struck at a protest in my district,” Ventura County Supervisor Jeff Gorell wrote on X.

The Council on American–Islamic Relations said in a statement that it was “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.”

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