Protesters brawl outside Museum of Tolerance after footage of Hamas attacking Israel is shown
Hollywood professionals like Israeli actress Gal Gadot helped organize the screening
Protesters brawled outside the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles one hour after approximately 150 entertainment industry professionals viewed a private screening of footage from Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel civilians.
The screening was 43 minutes of footage assembled by the Israeli Defense Forces called “Bearing Witness to the October 7th Massacre,” Variety reported. “The images were culled from hundreds of hours of footage retrieved from terrorist body cams, security cameras, victims’ mobile phones and other sources.”
Israeli actress Gal Gadot, known for starring in the movie “Wonder Woman,” reportedly helped Sara Greenberg and Melissa Zuckerman organize the screening, per Variety.
“One hour after the event was over, a small group of demonstrators returned to the same location. Those demonstrators became involved in a physical fight that has been widely broadcast,” the Los Angeles police department said in statement on Thursday.
“Two reports for battery were taken and will be thoroughly investigated,” the LAPD statement added.
Police and security were present at the event and attendees had to go through security check points, The New York Times reported. One attendee Lawrence Bender, who is the producer of “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting,” said he didn’t feel like the general public extended enough support to the Jewish community after Oct. 7.
“On Oct. 7, where were all our friends? They were missing,” Bender told The New York Times. “I thought that they would have showed up, the way we feel like we always as Jews show up for everybody else.”
As the event ensued, pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the venue, the Los Angeles Times reported
“At times, the demonstrations grew tense, with shouting matches breaking out between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups, who were separated by Los Angeles Police Department officers,” the LA Times reported. Demonstrators held signs urging the return of Israeli hostages and others held signs that read “The Museum of Tolerance is showing a pro-genocide film.”
At the event, organizers underscored the importance of screening the footage.
“Bearing witness to this footage should make unmistakably clear that the barbaric attack by Hamas upon innocent men, women, children, the elderly and the infirm is something that is beyond the pale of how human beings should treat one another,” Los Angeles director of the American Jewish Committee, Richard Hirschhaut, said, per the LA Times.
“That imagery needs to stand apart from political expression and from deeply held viewpoints, whether one is pro-Palestinian or pro-Israel,” Hirschhaut continued.
The regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles, Jeffrey I. Abrams, issued a statement on Wednesday, obtained by Fox 11.
“The level of hatred directed at the Jewish community here and worldwide is unprecedented, horrific and becoming deadly. The targeting of Jews and Jewish institutions must stop now,” Abrams said. “We call on leaders across Los Angeles to speak out against this hateful targeting.”
“Notably, today is the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the ‘night of broken glass,’ when the Holocaust began in Germany and Austria. ADL will not remain silent in the face of antisemitism and hatred,” Abrams continued, per Fox 11.
The disturbing scenes shown on the screen left attendees upset, and some were upset that the events of Oct. 7 are being denied, per The New York Times.
“It should be enough that there are eyewitness accounts and there are funerals and there are shivas and there are bereaved families,” Rabbi Sharon Brous, senior rabbi of a congregation in Los Angeles, told The New York Times. “But it’s apparently not enough. So there has to be a historical record that’s established, and these videos are part of establishing that record.”