Fists, hair pulling and pepper spray. This is how the finale of the violent confrontation between supporters of Israel and Palestine at the intersection in front of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles’ luxury Beverly Hills neighborhood looked on Wednesday evening local time.
The trigger for the fight was the screening of the film in the museum premises. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, also participated in the screening of the film entitled “Testimony to the October 7 Massacre”, which shows the violence committed by Hamas terrorists against the Israeli population. It was closed to the general public.
A reporter for the Los Angeles Times (LAT) reported on a crowd of about fifty people, one part of which shouted slogans in support of Israel and the other part supported Palestine. About ten police officers unsuccessfully tried to separate the feuding groups, after which physical violence ensued. According to information from the Los Angeles police, several people were detained at the scene, but most were later released by the law enforcement officers.
“We want them home,” chanted a group of pro-Israel protesters with a megaphone, referring to the hostages smuggled into the Gaza Strip by Hamas, according to LAT. According to other pro-Israel protesters, “history cannot be changed, (…) Jews are at home in Israel.”
Palestinian protesters, on the other hand, organized a convoy of honking cars to the rhythm of chanting “Cease fire now”.
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Thirty-three-year-old Miguel Arias, quoted by LAT, arrived at the demonstration because he did not like the nature of the screening, which was not open to the public. “A film for the privileged few is being screened at a time when calls for a cease-fire in Gaza are growing worldwide. (…) This is not the way to dialogue. The goal is to legitimize the killing of innocent Palestinians,” claimed a young man whose wife is Palestinian.
Footage from the cameras placed on the equipment of the Hamas terrorists, who brutally murdered on October 7 in Israel, was recently compiled by the press department of the Israeli government, which organized a screening for selected journalists in Tel Aviv. With regard to the victims and survivors, however, he banned the filming of the material on mobile phones so that it could not spread further. Novinek reporter Ján Husár was also present, who described that the footage was so drastic that he had to leave the screening room after 25 minutes.
News reporter in Israel: After 25 minutes of showing the drastic footage, I left
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass condemned the violence.
The celebrities did not arrive
The screening of the film was organized by two non-governmental Jewish organizations with the stated aim of drawing public attention to the violence committed by Hamas at the beginning of the conflict. The Jewish actress Gal Gadotová, known for her film role, was also supposed to participate in organizing the event Wonder Woman; however, like other Hollywood celebrities, she did not personally arrive at the screening, according to LAT.
The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles is financed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center (a Jewish organization dealing with documentation of the Holocaust and the search for Nazi criminals). It was opened in 1993. A large part of the collections is focused on the Holocaust and other crimes against Jews committed during World War II.