We Must Let the Facts Emerge About Paul Kessler's Death at Anti-Israel Rally

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

On Monday afternoon, Paul Kessler, a Jew here in our community of Westlake Village/Thousand Oaks, died as the result of a horrible tragedy at a pro-Palestinian rally on Sunday. This has made national news, but like the IDF, we need to pause before reacting.


The circumstances seem clear. For the past three Sundays, pro-Palestinian demonstrators have been flying “Palestine from the river to the sea” banners, stopping traffic, hurling anti-Semitic profanities, and trying to incite violence. This has been so obvious that this past Saturday, I sent an email to our congregation, asking them to avoid that intersection and not get baited into a trap that could lead to a tragedy. It has been a tinder box waiting for a spark.

Paul was in an altercation of some sort with a demonstrator. Witnesses have reported it multiple ways, from saying that he fell on his own to saying that he was hit with a megaphone. Whatever happened, he landed on the concrete and died on Monday from blunt force trauma. May his memory be a blessing, and his family be comforted.

As of late Monday night, the police have a suspect whom they interviewed at the site. But they do not have any video, so they are being very careful about what they say and do. I know both the chief of police and the county sheriff personally, and I trust them to make sure there is justice. They are both good men of integrity. They are holding a press conference this morning at 10 a.m., and we must let them do their job before reacting emotionally and foolishly. We need to emulate the IDF and be 100% sure before making accusations that may ultimately not be able to be proven. 


We also need to get honest, both about this tragedy and the circumstances.

Hamas is evil, and anyone who is supporting anything other than destroying them (not defeating them) is either a fool, evil themself, or both. Hamas and its supporters are also shrewd, and they are experts at controlling the narrative to turn their villainy into victimhood. Demonstrators like those in our community are hoping to incite violence and then turn it around as an excuse to riot against Jews and all people of faith. They consciously are attempting to create a tinder box, find a spark, and create an inferno to burn not just Jews, but all of Western culture. We cannot allow that to happen. 

The first thing we all need to do is avoid their rallies. Nothing we do nor say, no “counter-protest” or march, will change their hatred. It is only an opportunity for them to achieve their goal of violence.  Any demonstrating that we do should be done at a different location and with both police and armed security protection.  

Education is a powerful weapon, and everyone needs to be educated and share the real information about Hamas, “Palestine,” and Israel. When the war first started, I wrote a series of three articles here at PJMedia that detail the realities, and they include hyperlinks to sources such as the Hamas charter of 1988 — which specifically calls for the destruction of Israel and the “obliteration” of all Jews in Article 7. Everyone needs to know the history and truth as opposed to the propaganda of the last 60 years that has been fed through the media.


And we need to be prepared and situationally aware. November 9 is the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass,” considered to be the beginning of the Holocaust. On that terrible night, close to 300 German synagogues were destroyed, over 7,000 Jewish businesses were burned, over 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to camps, and at least 91 Jews were murdered. We cannot let anything like that ever happen again. Like the IDF, we must always be physically prepared but never seek conflict. And we must realize that the slogan of “Never Again” is now.

Related: These Pro-Hamas Protesters Are Antisemites, Not 'Peace Activists.'

Paul Kessler was a good man, who, after the shooting in Texas in November of 2017, emailed me the following statement: “Wouldn’t it be better if we substituted our prayers, which are obviously not being heard, for action?” He ended that email with what is now an even more powerful statement:

After each one of these tragedies, we ask for "prayers and thoughts" to go to the victims and their families. And yet, they continue. Even if we subscribe to Rabbi Kushner's position that there is a randomness in the universe, action, especially in this regard, would be more effective in preventing the need for more thoughts and prayers.


Let our actions be wise and clear, and let us all have faith over fear, but avoid foolishness. For our sake, for Paul Kessler’s, and for the world’s.

And may we all be blessed to see true justice come as a result of this tragedy, to be aware of the agenda of these agents of evil around the country and the world, and to see real peace on earth in our time.


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