The Arrest of Paul Kessler's Pro-Hamas Killer Leads to a New Hope

Jim Thompson

Many of us remember that on November 5 of last year, long before the pro-Hamas encampments at Columbia and UCLA, there was a pro-Hamas demonstration in Westlake Village, a suburb of Los Angeles. A counter-demonstration supporting Israel occurred at the same time. Arguments between the two sides got heated, and an older Jewish man named Paul Kessler died.


There were outcries from all sides, and a sleepy suburb became a national news site as Jews cried for justice, claiming that Kessler had been hit in the head by one of the pro-Arab activists. Pro-Hamas supporters screamed that Kessler had just fallen down and hit his head and that the Jews were exaggerating the incident and acting like victims. Law enforcement stayed quiet as they investigated multiple conflicting stories about the event and found it difficult to locate any video of the actual incident.

For almost two weeks, the police investigated. Jews wanted vengeance, and much of the nation’s media focused on Westlake Village being a microcosmic model of what was happening (and would happen) nationwide. As a local rabbi, I wrote articles about how we needed to let the police do their investigation and have faith in Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff and Chief of Police Jeremy Paris, as I knew them both and had faith they would do the right thing.

Ultimately, after reviewing over 600 pieces of evidence, interviewing over 60 witnesses, and spending over 2,000 man-hours on research, an arrest was made. Loay Alnaji, a Palestinian activist and professor at Moorpark College, was arrested on Wednesday. 

The nation’s media has moved on, the war in Israel continued, and the country has become progressively more anti-Semitic over the last months. Campuses became unsafe for Jewish students as illegal encampments filled with domestic terrorists have covered the country’s colleges.


For the family of Paul Kessler, the nightmare has continued. But part of that nightmare has now been resolved, affecting all Americans.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the preliminary hearings were held in Alnaji’s case. Under the guidance of District Attorney Erik Nasarenko and with the work of Senior Deputy D.A. Courtney Lewis, the court held the defendant to answer for the charges of involuntary manslaughter and battery causing serious bodily injury. 

Alnaji is accused of getting into a heated argument with Kessler, who had yelled at Alnaji that Hamas killed babies. Alnaji yelled back that he wanted proof, and it escalated from there. The suspect allegedly hit Kessler with the megaphone that was in his hand. Kessler fell on the concrete and received an injury to his head that resulted in his death.  

The additional charge of a hate crime was not made. Although antisemitic hate speech was heard at the event, the investigations did not find any evidence linking Alnaji to any hate speech directly (and this after also using Arabic translators who work for the D.A.), nor is there any evidence that Alnaji attended the demonstration with the intent of causing physical harm,  necessary components to charge someone with a hate crime in California. Law enforcement is still exploring that possible charge, and if new evidence comes to light, it can be added to the other charges.


But outside of our community, why should the country care about the death of Paul Kessler and the fate of Alnaji? 

This entire drama has made two important points that this nation’s citizenry needs to understand. The first is that our local law enforcement, like most in this country (outside of the Soros-bought district attorneys in far-left extremist cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and so on) is comprised of good men and women who really do seek justice. 

DA Nasarenko charged Alnaji with crimes that he feels the suspect could be convicted of.  Although Alnaji is clearly a hate-monger, his actions don’t rise to the legal level needed (for now) to add that charge of a hate crime. As any good DA should, he is conscious of all sides of the issue and is working to get a conviction, not just media exposure. But the integrity of law enforcement is only the smaller of the two lessons that come out of this case.

What is more important is for us all to see that these crazy activists supporting Hamas are not as the mainstream media tries to portray them:  they are not "untouchable." It may take longer than many of us would like, but these criminals can and eventually will receive the just punishments they deserve. These “activists,” be they Alnaji or students on a college campus, are criminals. This latest hearing shows clearly that despite the media’s agenda, they can and will be punished for their actions.


“Occupiers” in colleges should be looking at the Alnaji case and be afraid because they have been breaking the law, and this case shows that it may not ultimately be tolerated. It demonstrates that the rule of law in this country can be victorious, even if it takes months or longer. Every demonstrating student should be afraid because their lives will ultimately be destroyed with criminal records and convictions if they participate in these illegal activities. Alnaji’s case shows each of these fools who think that demonstrating, invading public buildings, and setting up illegal tent cities as a protest is “cool” or “dope" that it is something entirely different: These are actions that could land them in prison.

And Alnaji’s case should give hope to the rest of us. Hope that this country will right itself. Hope that most Americans, including law enforcement, have had enough of this craziness. Faith in our legal system and that the times of allowing BLM riots, college encampments, and unrestricted animalistic behavior (such as killing another man by hitting him with a megaphone) are over.

When any of us experience the hate of people like Alnaji or these imbecilic students, we must act consciously. We must go to law enforcement and demand that they charge them with crimes. We must file civil suits against the universities for violating Title VI and more. The Anti-Defamation League is bundling up campus violations in multiple suits, and this process should be utilized. Private law firms are taking on civil cases for students and their families who have suffered as a result of campuses being unsafe. The Alnaji case is a precedent and demonstrates that these legal options are viable ways to stop the hate.


This case shows the nation something we have all been hoping for: The legal system can work to stop the hate of the pro-Hamas haters. While this may give no solace to Paul Kessler’s family, this case is a step in the right direction of returning to a nation that is committed to the rule of law.

May Paul’s memory be a blessing and his family comforted in their loss. May we all start to return to a faith that law enforcement is returning to a time of enforcing the law.


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