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Federal official fires gun at pro-Palestine demonstrators following scuffle in LA

on 39 Comments

The conflict is lapping up on our shores. Yesterday afternoon in Los Angeles, there was a big pro-Israel rally and, across the street, a pro-Palestine rally. The demonstrations ended with a scuffle between the sides and a federal official firing a shot at pro-Palestine folks in a truck. No one was seriously hurt. Four men were reportedly arrested.

Reports vary, and there are videos above. The incident involved a skirmish between pro-Palestinian demonstrators holding a flag and pro-Israel demonstrators. When the pro-Palestinian flagholders drove off in a truck, a gun was fired at the truck, apparently by a Homeland Security official.

From the ABC affiliate:

A federal officer fired a shot Sunday during a rally on the Israeli conflict in Gaza outside a Federal Building in Westwood. No one was hit, but four men were detained.

In the afternoon, hundreds of pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinians demonstrated on opposite sides at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue.

The men who were detained were traveling in a pickup truck. 

One of the men in the truck, who was not taken into custody, said he jumped out to retrieve a Palestinian flag that a demonstrator ripped from his friend’s hands and knocked to the ground…

“I was able to see the truck leaving and there was an officer had a gun toward the truck and he just fired toward the truck,” said Hany Refai, a protestor.

The LA Jewish Journal reports this morning that police arrested four men who held the flag, for allegedly initiating the scuffle:

A peaceful pro-Israel rally in front of the Federal Building in Westwood in West Los Angeles was interrupted late Sunday afternoon when three or four men wielding Palestinian flags arrived carrying long wooden sticks and alledgely attacked the pro-Israel demonstrators. The Los Angeles Police Department reported that more than 1,200 attended the rally.

But the Jordanian-American denied that the pro-Palestinian group started trouble, says the Jewish Journal:

There were five people riding in the truck, all Arabs living in Anaheim, according to one of them, Hany Rafai, who said he got out of the truck before the police stopped it. Rafai denied that they were hitting the pro-Israel rallyers. Rafai lives in both Jordan and Orange County.

The CBS affiliate says there were 2000 people at the pro-Israel “peace” rally. More like a war rally, though?

Following some of the pro-Israel supporters being allegedly hit with sticks, [KCAL’s Bobby] Kaple said “a melee ensued.”

The men reportedly jumped back into their truck and took off.

At this point, officers with Homeland Security approached the men.

A witness told Kaple one of the Homeland Security officers fired at the truck. No one was struck…

Gadi Schwartz, a TV reporter for NBC in LA, has a more neutral version of the incident on his twitter feed. He says that one of the arrested Palestinian-supporters is a US armed forces veteran. Here is more information from his feed:

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39 Responses

  1. biorabbi on July 14, 2014, 11:22 am

    LA, yesterday Paris. The storming/firebombing of Parisian Synagogues. I guess the protestors confused them with the Israeli Embassy.

    • JustJessetr on July 14, 2014, 12:20 pm

      The P’n bunch were hitting some of the Israeli bunch with sticks. In NYC at least, an officer has the right to fire on anyone carrying a weapon, any weapon. Even if the person has no weapon and has clearly demonstrated they are trained fighters, out come the guns.

      • annie on July 14, 2014, 2:25 pm

        The P’n bunch were hitting some of the Israeli bunch with sticks.
        allegedly according to whom? not the reporter. some anonymous stand w/us people? plllease.

      • hophmi on July 14, 2014, 2:37 pm

        Continue to live in denial. Meanwhile, this happened:

        And #Hitlerwasright was trending on twitter today.

      • a blah chick on July 14, 2014, 3:00 pm

        The difference between these neo Nazi types and their anti Arab counterparts is that the latter are part of mainstream discourse whereas the former are not.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on July 14, 2014, 3:30 pm

        So hophmi is back. I was wondering where he was.

        Seems he has nothing to say about homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centres being bombed to bits by his hero army, but gets oh-so-upset about twitter trends.

        Priorities, priorities.

      • JustJessetr on July 15, 2014, 12:11 am

        Oh come on, hophmi! Spare us! Everyone knows that the stone-throwers walked into the temple first and checked whether all the Jews were Zionists! And those that were post-Zionists got a big white X chalked on their coats and weren’t targeted! Enough of your hypocrisy!

      • Cliff on July 15, 2014, 7:16 am


        The pro-Israel fascists grabbed a Palestinian flag from someone and began stomping on it.

        As usual, you freaks instigated a fight. The police, being the pathological racists that they are – killing African-Americans or Arabs – shot at a truck with brown people.

        The organized Jewish community are major purveyors of hate and incitement.

        Your LIES prove this, hoppy.

      • Shingo on July 15, 2014, 7:53 am

        And #Hitlerwasright was trending on twitter today.

        Poor hop is still stuck on Twitter trying to pin stuff on Palestinians. By the looks of things, he’s not having any luck.

      • tree on July 15, 2014, 4:12 pm

        A different report on the incident in Paris, including a video showing LDJ (French JDL) vigilantes attacking demonstrators. Apparently the altercation was not one-sided, even though hophmi would like to present it that way.

        Jewish vigilantes brandishing iron bars and cans of pepper spray took to the streets of Paris to attack pro-Palestinian demonstrators, it emerged today. (Tuesday)

        Shocking images shot in the French capital at the weekend show around 150 mainly young men chanting racist slogans as they went on the rampage.
        It came as President Francois Hollande warned that he did not want to see ‘the Israeli-Palestinian conflict imported into France.’

        French Jewish groups have complained about an increase in anti-Semitism in recent months, with many accusing Muslim youths of targeting them.
        But a video shot close to the Place de la Bastille on Sunday, and verified by police before being posted on YouTube, suggests that the pro-Israel groups are in fact taking the law into their own hands.

        It will cause concern in moderate Jewish communities around Europe, especially in Britain, where the Israeli bombardments of Palestinians in Gaza have come in for huge criticism.

        While security guards are regularly used to defend synagogues and other Jewish sites in cities like London, vigilante groups would be banned.
        In Paris, CRS riot police do not make a single arrest among the Jewish gang, thought to be linked to the extremist Jewish Defence League (LDJ), despite them openly fighting in broad daylight.

        Members can be heard chanting ‘****-you Palestine’ as they smash up chairs and metal tables to be used as missiles.
        Gas canisters, pepper spray, metal bars and wooden sticks are used by the vigilantes, some of whom are wearing crash helmets.

        They run through the streets towards pro-Palestinian demonstrators, and skirmishes break out while the police stand by.
        When the gang runs back towards police lines, there is no attempt to arrest any of them.

        In contrast, pro-Palestinian demonstrators were later accused of trying to break into synagogues, and six of them were arrested.

        Alexis Bachelay, a Paris MP for the ruling Socialist party, said: ‘There has evidently been a media manipulation about who really got assaulted.
        ‘These are extremely serious facts that need to be investigated thoroughly by the police. It is not the first time that young French people of Muslim origin are stigmatised by the media.

        ‘French people of Muslim origin should be protected by the law when demonstrating. They should not be attacked by radical groups like the LDJ’.
        In turn, local Jewish community leader Joel Mergei, accused anti-Israel protestors of reaching a ‘new low’.

        An LDJ source insisted that the gang members pictured were ‘defending’ the Jewish community in Paris.

      • annie on July 15, 2014, 4:56 pm

        tree, not sure if you read Violence outside Paris synagogue falsely attributed to anti-Semitism

      • tree on July 15, 2014, 5:04 pm

        Annie, I noticed it immediately after posting this. Sorry for the redundancy.

      • biorabbi on July 14, 2014, 5:57 pm

        You’re both completely missing the point. Annie–JustJesseter, the issue is when and why the officer shot. He was said to have shot his gun as the bus was leaving. This is mind boggling. I didn’t realize you shot someone after they were beaten/roughed up. I’m obviously no fan of the Gaza protest movements, but firing at people fighting, or after they’ve been assaulted? Couldn’t he just have taken down the Palestinian’s car and checked DMV records? Sounds like the Homeland security guy was/is off his rocker.

      • lyn117 on July 14, 2014, 9:39 pm

        Lots of people at those rallies have sticks, because the signs are on sticks, on both sides.

        I’ve certainly had a pro-Palestinian sign knocked out of my hand, as did one of my fellow protesters, and other very threatening moves against, like almost being shoved or hit, more than being called rude names by pro-Israel people. So I really believe the young man who says the flag was ripped out of his hand.

      • annie on July 15, 2014, 2:22 am

        the issue is when and why the officer shot. He was said to have shot his gun as the bus was leaving. This is mind boggling. I didn’t realize you shot someone after they were beaten/roughed up.

        actually that is not my biggest issue w/hophmi’s comment. when the news of the attack on the synagogue in paris was first reported, because of the timing, it was reported that the whole of paris protesting what was going on in gaza ‘culminated’ in this attack or was aligned with it all screaming death to jews, or something like this (an absurdity!). that is clearly not the case. take that and the fact it is not clear what happened in LA, there are 2 sides to this story and hophmi, in his ‘denial’ comment assumes this LA incident is in the same category as the paris attack. he’s aligning them as a rhetorical device which just inflames and already inflammatory situation.

        whatever happened in LA, it is not a hundred people attacking a synagogue.

        neither does it answer what a DHS agent doing hanging out on the street w/the stand w/us crowd,which is not clear, why he shot at the person is not clear, why the video taken does not support the idea the palestinians were aggressors, the report made clear these were unconfirmed allegations, the claim they ‘arrived w/sticks’ by a highly highly partisan site (jewish journal) renowned for fabrication and exaggeration. so in this environment, to claim anyone is in ‘denial’ not to see it thru his narrow lens, is absurd. it’s only meant to change the goal posts, not just shift them, but catapult them into another zone.

      • ritzl on July 15, 2014, 4:07 am

        Speaking of off their rocker, doesn’t anyone find it wierd that there’s a pro-slaughter demonstration going on at all? At best if you’re FOR the slaughter Israel is carrying out in Gaza you hang your head and privately mumble something like, “It’s necessary and I hope it never happens again.”

        These Zionists positively revel in it. Sickos.

      • JustJessetr on July 15, 2014, 12:07 am

        You wanted a reporter, you got it!

        “A peaceful pro-Israel rally in front of the Federal Building in Westwood in West Los Angeles was interrupted late Sunday afternoon when three or four men wielding Palestinian flags arrived carrying long wooden sticks and alledgely attacked the pro-Israel demonstrators. The Los Angeles Police Department reported that more than 1,200 attended the rally.” That’s right in your article, sorry!

        Yes, reports vary. I know.

      • annie on July 15, 2014, 2:34 am

        That’s right in your article, sorry!

        yeah, it’s blockquoted from the highly partisan jewish journal right in our article. iow, it’s the most radical claim. doesn’t make it true! and is not supported by any of the other reports that come after it. just because you report something first doesn’t make it more accurate.

      • tree on July 15, 2014, 2:59 am

        Here’s another version of events from the LA Times:

        Fight at pro-Israel rally started over stomping of Palestinian flag

        A pro-Israel demonstration outside a federal building Sunday in Westwood turned physical after protesters ripped a Palestinian flag away from a passing vehicle and began stomping on it, according to media reports.

        People in the vehicle got out and tried to retrieve the flag at about 5:45 p.m. and that’s when the confrontation turned physical, KNBC-TV Channel 4 reported.

        The demonstration outside a federal building in the 11000 block of Wilshire Boulevard was being held to back Israel in its bombing of targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire sent from Gaza by Hamas, authorities said.

        The protest was nearing its conclusion when “a verbal and physical altercation ensued between the occupants of two vehicles leaving the area,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

        A federal officer trying to break up the fight fired a single gunshot, according to the Sheriff’s Department. No one was injured.

        No sheriff’s deputies were involved but the department is investigating, officials said.

        Four people were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, KNBC reported. The weapons were reportedly wooden poles used to hold protest signs

      • hophmi on July 15, 2014, 2:47 pm

        “he’s aligning them as a rhetorical device which just inflames and already inflammatory situation.”

        You read an awful lot into a one sentence comment, and I really have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m conflating? You’re the one complaining about the police, which has nothing to do with pro-Israel protesters, and you’re trying to blame the pro-Israel community for the excesses of a police department with a long record of police brutality. I’m complaining about a riot in Paris that was so bad that the Jews had to barricade themselves inside of a synagogue to stay safe. This website ignored the riot. This website ignores virtually all excesses of the pro-Palestinian community, which is getting more and more violent because people like you simply refuse to do anything about it. You either ignore them, underplay and apologize for them, or make up some conspiracy theory about how it was someone else’s fault.

        You, as usual, simply reject any and all information that might be contrary to your point of view. The Jewish Journal publishes an account of the incident, and, of course, you say it’s “highly partisan,” as if you weren’t highly partisan.

    • a blah chick on July 14, 2014, 2:50 pm

      Here the Arabs can fight back.

      • JustJessetr on July 14, 2014, 11:59 pm

        Oh good. If that’s OK, then I have no problem with Jews fighting back. Anywhere. Anytime. And so the Israeli ’67 conquests are, yet again, entirely justified.

      • annie on July 15, 2014, 2:41 am

        If that’s OK, then I have no problem with Jews fighting back. Anywhere. Anytime. And so the Israeli ’67 conquests are, yet again, entirely justified.

        technically a conquest is not ‘fighting back’ if one initiates it. and you have no problem w/jewish conquest/ fighting to begin with so don’t pretend that’s your position because anyone is fighting back. the zionist enterprise is one of land appropriation, something you’re never gonna get on a silver platter. that’s what’s being fought over and of course someone is going to fight back when you steal their home. you’re not the victim here defending what’s rightfully yours.

      • JustJessetr on July 15, 2014, 8:00 am

        Nope, your version of events have already been disproved here and lots of other places. Feel free to dive in with your Israel-starts-everything fanaticism, but it’s perfectly clear that Israel’s jumping into a fight when the enemy was knocking on it’s door in ’67 is both an admirable and legal move.

        And yeah, it was the superior force too overall. So what? Good! I’m glad they were the superior force. I hope they stay the superior force. Nothing wrong at all with being the superior force and having powerful friends. That’s what wins wars and keeps people alive. Hizbullah doesn’t have the capability to make all those rockets on their own, they get their armaments from Iran and Syria. Same for Hamas. You cheer them on without a second thought.

        Everybody’s a victim somewhere down the line, Annie. And injustices need to be righted. But at some point I simply have to take my own side in a fight.

      • talknic on July 15, 2014, 2:25 pm

        JustJessetr ” it’s perfectly clear that Israel’s jumping into a fight when the enemy was knocking on it’s door in ’67 is both an admirable and legal move”

        Uh huh. 1966

        “injustices need to be righted. But at some point I simply have to take my own side in a fight”

        The side of injustice, illegality, aggression, theft, lies, false accusations …. cute. You must be very proud

      • Cliff on July 15, 2014, 7:18 am

        Zionist Jews fight against women and children mainly.

        You cowards are bullies.

        The Arabs can clearly fight you on equal footing when their kids aren’t being stomped on by the IDF.

        How about you go pick a fight with those Arabs instead of the Palestinians, JJ?

    • marc b. on July 14, 2014, 4:16 pm

      more like, same ol’ day in LA and Tel Aviv:

      from Ha’artz:

      Right-wingers attack leftists in Tel Aviv demonstration

      Demonstrators attacked with clubs after rocket siren sounded; one man rushed to hospital; Police make no arrests.

      By Yarden Skop | 00:50 13.07.14 | 9

      Several dozen right-wingers interrupted a leftist demonstration against the Israeli operation in Gaza, beating and threatening several demonstrators on Saturday evening in central Tel Aviv.

  2. Justpassingby on July 14, 2014, 12:25 pm

    Palestinians in Palestine attacked – Check
    Palestinians in LA attacked – Check

    • John Douglas on July 14, 2014, 8:43 pm

      Well, but why not attack? You read the scoop from the LA Jewish Journal that three or four men were “wielding” Palestinian flags? (Side note: How exactly does one “wield” a flag?) Anyway you can be sure that none of the pro-Israelites were “wielding” the Star of David because as the LA Jewish Journal reports it was a peaceful rally.

  3. American on July 14, 2014, 12:46 pm

    ‘Principiis obsta and Finem respice’
    Too late now, every sector of the US is infected.
    Incidents like this are just another symptom.

    From Occupation to “Occupy”: The Israelification of American Domestic Security
    by Max Blumenthal
    Published Friday, December 2, 2011

    New York – In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.

    At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”

    Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.

    read more

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    Six die in LAPD missile attack; suspect escapes
    An LAPD helicopter fired two missiles yesterday into a crowded intersection in South Central LA today, killing 6 and injured 23 in an attack on the vehicle of a suspected drug smuggler.
    The target of the assassination attempt, Carlos Diaz, escaped with minor injuries, jumping from the Hummer moments before the first missile hit. A second missile followed within seconds, instantly killing Diaz’s bodyguard and driver, and a mother and child in the car.
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    The center “acts as a clearinghouse,” says Paysinger, collecting information about the latest news related to the conflict and the reactions in Los Angeles, including “spontaneous protests” such as the one that took place Friday outside the Israeli Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard.

    The “Level 1” activation means the department will be in a state of readiness, passing information between command staff, the area stations, city officials and other law enforcement agencies. But the increased footing means police will have an increased focus on critical sites throughout the area, as well as the possibility of clashes resulting from demonstrations.
    Mayor Villaraigosa made a point of speaking in favor of Israel this afternoon at a press conference.

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  4. Marnie on July 14, 2014, 1:15 pm

    There’s always a lot of drama from both sides. I think about the conference where naftali bennett got up to speak and was booed and called a murderer, then was bumped by someone to which he snarled “who hit me?” He’s a racist bully then cries “who hit me?” These zionazzis love to bully and provoke anyone who they even think isn’t with them. Kind of like the original nazis, the KKK, etc.,…..

  5. Citizen on July 14, 2014, 2:42 pm

    The usual goes on, everybody critical of, and or protesting Israel’s activity is a jew hater. Works to cut off debate about reality.

  6. a blah chick on July 14, 2014, 3:03 pm

    So, the fed was firing at people attempting to leave quietly. Looks like those Israeli junkets are paying off!

  7. plenty on July 14, 2014, 5:34 pm

    I am in LA, I did not attend this. I went to the last counter demo of Stand ON Us 2012, I believe. Hundreds of Stand ON Us-ers rushed across the street and rained down spit on us. I looked into the sky and saw spit spit spit, little children were screaming and crying in fear. One Palestinian man had his arm broken. They had a security company for themselves that busied themselves harassing and NOT protecting Palestinian Solidarity protesters. This firm although hired by Stand ON Us were standing more on our side of the street than theirs. This Security firm allowed Stand ON Us-ers to cross the street to provoke, and did nothing when asked to remove them.
    Stand ON Us is famously violent, they also like to try and infiltrate Palestinian activist meetings in LA, shut down art by Gazan children……in addition to curtailing free speech across our campuses.

    Time was spent the day before at the Palestinian demo, explaining to a very young Palestinian girl why a Zionist would give her the middle finger, she was horrified . I myself have been kicked, had death threats called into my home, spit on and of course sexually harassed (they love this tactic). LA zionist are extremists and i dont think LA solidarity activists should counter their demos, we should turn our backs on them, we should be smart about how we deal with protest and our safety.

    • mariapalestina on July 15, 2014, 2:34 pm

      I was there also. That’s exactly what happened. It is always the Stand With Us group that tries to cross the road to attack people supporting Palestine. It happened last week at the Zionist consulate (the event where Ali Abunimah was briefly handcuffed & restrained for speaking to a zionist) The police were very friendly toward us, and several times escorted zionists back across Wilshire Boulevard when they crossed over to our side. We never engage with them. At the end of the demonstration, the police insisted on walking with us to where our cars were parked, for our safety they said.

  8. bilal a on July 14, 2014, 6:02 pm

    Religious inspired murder of gentiles is not unprecedented but incidents seem to have had shadow NKVD (secret police ) leadership at least in Spain:

    In Barbastro 123 of 140 priests were killed.[76] about 88 percent of the secular clergy were murdered, 66 percent
    In Lleida, 270 of 410 priests were killed.[76] about 62 percent
    In Tortosa, 44 percent of the secular priests were killed.[78]
    In Toledo 286 of 600 priests were killed.[76]
    In the dioceses of Málaga, Minorca and Segorbe, about half of the priests were killed”[76][78]
    In Madrid 4,000 priests were murdered.

    the true “executors of Soviet policy in Spain” were the Comintern and NKVD, whom the prime minister did not invite.

  9. Sycamores on July 14, 2014, 11:39 pm

    Rania Khalek reports that CBS Los Angeles stated that “Witnesses said four men — believed to be members of Hamas….” only after outrage on Twitter over CBS LA’s used of unsourced accusation was the reference edited out.

    Soon after the Jewish Journal’s report, CBS Los Angeles published its own version of events, saying, “Witnesses said four men — believed to be members of Hamas — waved pro-Palestinian flags and started to attack the pro-Israel demonstrators with sticks.”

    After outrage erupted on Twitter over CBS LA’s inclusion of unsourced, racially-charged accusations that these men were “members of Hamas,” the reference was edited out. It now reads, “Witnesses said four men in a truck waved pro-Palestinian flags and started to attack the pro-Israel demonstrators with sticks.”

    Rania Khalek supplies a screenshot of the original on twitter

    CBS removed the Hamas line, but screenshot @MaxBlumenthal @TerrinaMajnoona @GadiNBCLA @OLAASM— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) July 14, 2014

  10. Spring Renouncer on July 15, 2014, 3:09 am

    In India, students engaging in a peaceful protest outside of the Israeli embassy are beaten and detained by the Delhi Police (which is controlled directly by the central government ie. Modi’s BJP, an anti-muslim party)

  11. mariapalestina on July 15, 2014, 2:29 pm

    Just about every person at the demonstration was carrying a stick. Actually most of the Pro-Israel people were carrying two. The Israeli Consulate drops off hundreds of U.S. & American flags, on sticks, at the site, so that everybody can hold a flag in each hand — on a stick. This is not the first time zionist supporters of Israeli terrorism have attacked pro-Palestinian demonstrators at that site. The last time the zionists group crossed Wilshire Boulevard & provoked a confrontation in which a Palestine supporter suffered a broken arm.

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