Paul Kessler was a 69-year-old Jewish man who lived in Thousand Oaks, California with his wife, Cheryl.
He was interested in Israel and peace in the Middle East and was waving an Israeli flag when pro-Palestinian demonstrators allegedly confronted his group during a rally on Sunday, November 5, 2023.
During the confrontation, a pro-Palestinian protester allegedly beat Kessler over the head with a megaphone, causing him to fall backwards and strike his head on the ground.
Kessler was found by deputies with a head injury and taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries the next day.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime and is investigating the incident.
Paul Kessler’s cause of death
The cause of Kessler’s death was a blunt-force head injury, which was determined by the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office during an autopsy.
As mentioned above, he allegedly sustained this injury after being struck in the head and knocked backward.
Kessler then fell and hit his head on the ground, which ultimately led to his death the following day.
How has the Jewish community reacted to Paul Kessler’s death?
The Jewish community has reacted with shock and grief to Paul Kessler’s death.
Ventura County Supervisor Jeff Gorell expressed his heartbreak over Kessler’s death and called for peace in the community.
Rabbi Michael Barclay of Temple Ner Simcha in Westlake Village, near Thousand Oaks, identified Kessler as Jewish and urged people not to jump to conclusions about his death.
He asked people to let law enforcement do their jobs and have faith that justice will be served.
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid wrote on social media that Kessler was killed because he was a Jew and that it was not because of Gaza, but because of antisemitism.
He also said that this is what happens when protesters glorify Hamas and call to “globalize the intifada.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said in a statement that Kessler was hit with a megaphone, but authorities did not mention that assertion on Monday.
Moshe Bryski, a local rabbi from Chabad of Agoura Hills, told The New York Post that Kessler’s death was “just a tragedy” and that Kessler’s wife was “in a state of total shock” when he called her on the day of the incident.
What was the context of the pro-israel and pro-palestinian protests in California?
In recent weeks, there have been pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protests in California.
The context of these protests is the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, mostly Palestinians.
The protests have been emotional and passionate, with supporters of both sides gathering to express their views.
Pro-Israel demonstrators have gathered to show their support for Israel and to draw attention to the crisis in the region.
On the other hand, pro-Palestinian demonstrators have gathered to call for an end to Israel’s bombardment and occupation of Gaza and to highlight the plight of the Palestinian people.
The protests have been peaceful for the most part, but there have been some incidents of violence and confrontation between demonstrators from opposing sides.