Several fights broke out outside the Museum of Tolerance in the US city of Los Angeles on Wednesday night (November 8, 2023), where actress Gal Gadot was facilitating the screening of a film showing the October 7 surprise attack on Southern Israel by the Hamas group.
The 43-minute film "Bearing Witness" was touted as featuring "extremely graphic and violent" footage "documenting the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th, 2023". Some of it included footage shot by members of Hamas, reported ABC7.
At least 1,400 people were killed after Hamas members infiltrated and attacked Israel on October 7. They also took 240 people, including foreigners, as hostages.
Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who was involved in organising the screening of the film, reportedly did not attend the LA event.
Interestingly, Gadot, who is known for portraying the role of Wonder Woman onscreen, had served the Israel Defense Forces for two years as a combat fitness instructor.
According to reports, the screening of the film was held amid tight security arrangements.
People bearing Israeli flags fighting with pro-Palestinian protestors in the middle of the street can be seen in videos shared on social media, with people punching and kicking one another, reported Daily Mail.
According to reports, 200 people attended the film screening.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, who attended the event, was quoted as saying by The Hollywood Reporter that he had flown in from New York “because screening this footage is of the utmost importance.”
He said, “It will change the way you view the Middle East and the way you view the war in Gaza,” adding that “Hamas, just like the Nazis and ISIS, view Jews as insects to be exterminated,” and that the ongoing war in Gaza is “only about ensuring that such atrocities never happen again”.
Sheffler, the IDF spokesperson, who was in uniform (he hand-delivered the DCP of the footage), said he had spent the weeks since Oct. 7 at the sites of the massacre and with the families of those who were killed, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement on the fights that took place close to the venue and said: "The event concluded with no issues and demonstrators were able to express themselves. 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. Officers returned to the area and peace was restored."
"Two reports for battery were taken and will be thoroughly investigated. At this time, we do not have suspects in custody relating to the battery, or for any other reason relating to this event," read the statement.
Reacting to the development in the city, Mayor Karen Bass posted on X: "We cannot allow current worldwide tension to devolve into this unacceptable violence in our city. "
"This is a time of immense pain and distress for thousands of Angelenos. We must stand together," the tweet said.
Established in 1993, Museum of Tolerance is the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organisation.
The only museum of its kind in the world, the MOT is dedicated to challenging visitors to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our world today, read the museum's website.