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July 1, 2024 12:18 pm
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Masked Activists Violently Attack Jews at North Carolina Public Library

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avatar by Peter Reitzes

West Asheville Library in North Carolina. Screenshot: buncombecounty.org.

Three pro-Israel attendees of a public event titled “Strategic Lessons From the Palestinian Resistance” reported being attacked and forcibly dragged out by anti-Israel activists also in attendance at the West Asheville Library in North Carolina on Saturday.

The event, hosed by Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair, was one of multiple anti-Israel sessions that took place during a three-day “anarchist” book fair.

The Algemeiner interviewed David Moritz, a 54-year-old son of Holocaust survivors, and Monica Buckley, who is 48 and identifies as queer. Both are Jewish and attended the event with 80-year-old Bob Campbell, who was also interviewed for this story.

Approximately 60-80 anti-Israel activists were in attendance at the event held in a public library. Almost all were masked, with the exception of one activist who is reported to regularly attend events in the area unmasked.

According to Moritz, Buckley, and Campbell, the event celebrated and glorified Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian terrorist group killed 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 others as hostages.

The three pro-Israel attendees were seated quietly along a far wall. Anti-Israel activists asked them to put on masks, which they did. Interestingly, no one asked a presenter to stop vaping as he spoke at the indoor, public library.

At one point, according to video circulated on social media, a presenter stopped the event, drawing everyone’s attention to the three pro-Israel attendees.

The others in attendance expressed concern that their public event was being live streamed by “Zionists.” The presenter immediately joked about the possibility of a “murder here.”

 

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A post shared by Monica Buckley (@monica_buckley_)

The attendees and anti-Israel activists were then asked by a presenter, “I’ll let you guys decide. What do you want to do?” The pro-Israel attendees were immediately told to leave with multiple people yelling out “bye.”

After further discussion, the presenter asked for a show of hands on how to proceed. An attendee said, “They are not f—king welcome here.” Someone else was heard saying, “I don’t trust them.”

At about two minutes and 20 seconds into the video, activists began encircling Moritz, Buckley, and Campbell.

While about 80 percent of the attendees were women, a group of large men stood over the pro-Israel attendees and loudly clapped their hands while yelling “Free Palestine.” The video then goes black while the audio continues with a clear struggle being heard.

According to video and interviews with those targeted at the event, an activist grabbed Buckley’s phone, instigating mob violence against the three pro-Israel attendees. She was reportedly punched, kicked, and stomped. Her phone was stolen and later found, having been thrown on nearby property.

All three pro-Israel attendees reported being dragged out of the library.

Campbell, an 80-year-old military veteran with cancer and a stent in his heart, was stomped, assaulted, and pushed to the ground, a footprint clearly visible on his shorts. His phone was also taken and later found in a trashcan. Local police encouraged Campbell to see a doctor.

“My arms are chewed up,” Campbell told The Algemeiner. For medical treatment he went to a US Veterans Affairs facility, which found he had “severe contusions.”

“What really upset me — I was laying on the floor and this big guy was on top of me,” Campbell said. “The librarian came to the door, looked me right in the eye, turned around and walked back and didn’t do a damn thing. Didn’t call the police.”

Moritz was badly beaten, a large welt clearly visible on his head. Once the activists got Moritz outside, one briefly put him in a headlock before he was able to break free. According to interviewees, police arrived and stated that while they received multiple calls, none were from library personnel.

According to Moritz, the man who put him in a headlock was allowed to leave even after the activist was pointed out to the police.

Buckley reported that when she was being dragged outside, the unmasked activist who seemingly recognized her from other local events repeatedly said, “Monica, just relax, don’t fight it.”

None of the activists in attendance came to the defense of the three pro-Israel attendees.

According to Buckley, one of the attendees was arrested. A police report confirms that one person was arrested at the library.

Moritz said that the police showed him video footage that caught some of the attack, but did not provide him a copy. It is unclear if the police have obtained additional video footage from an outside camera or any additional cameras of the incident.

On Monday, the Asheville Police Department issued a statement that they “are investigating an assault that occurred during an ACAB [Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair] seminar held Saturday afternoon at the West Asheville Library.”

The statement noted that a 35-year-old was charged with two counts of “resisting, delay, and obstruct,” adding, “The investigation into the robbery and assault is ongoing.”

The Algemeiner has reached out to the police for additional information and comment.

Peter Reitzes writes about issues related to antisemitism and Israel.

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