Pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian demonstrators got into violent altercations in Los Angeles after Gal Gadot screened video from the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The contentious film, “Bearing Witness to the October 7th Massacre,” featured footage from the Israel Defense Forces and drew a sizable audience that included Hollywood executives and Israeli authorities.
The area surrounding the Museum of Tolerance, the site of the event, was heavily patrolled by police. Videos circulated on the internet showed people fighting and waving Israeli flags during ferocious street fights. To keep the rowdy throng under control, police had to set up a skirmish line and eventually utilized pepper spray.
The incident was denounced by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, who said, “We cannot allow current worldwide tension to devolve into this unacceptable violence in our city.”
Following her screening, Gal Gadot faced backlash on social media, where she was accused of encouraging genocide and faced threats. Carrying posters that read “Anti-Zionism ≠ Antisemitism,” some fifty demonstrators gathered outside the screening to voice their opposition to the Museum of Tolerance’s projection of a “pro-genocide film.”
Tensions flared within and outside the museum during the showing of “Bearing Witness to the October 7th Massacre.” Some protesters thought the video would be used to legitimize violence against Palestinian citizens, while others accused the museum of spreading misinformation.
Prior to the showing, the audience was addressed by speakers within the museum, such as Rabbi Marvin Hier and Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN. Rabbi Hier referred to Hamas as “the Nazis of the twenty-first century,” while Erdan said the film would alter people’s opinions of the Middle East. Filmed by militants from Hamas during their assault, the images showed horrific scenes of civilian deaths.
Emotions were running high in the museum as the showing progressed, with some visitors expressing shock and anguish at the visuals. The audience was reassured by IDF Lt Col. Amnon Sheffler that the military was striving to “minimize civilian harm” in its operations.
Gal Gadot, who was in the IDF prior to beginning her acting career, did not attend the screening and has not made any public remarks about it. She has, however, continuously shown her support for Israel on social media by posting images and videos of Hamas hostages along with the hashtag #NoHostageLeftBehind.