An entertainment-industry crowd turned out on Wednesday for the Los Angeles premiere of “Bearing Witness to the October 7th Massacre,” a controversial 47-minute documentary assembled by the Israeli Defense Forces.
“Witness” features extremely graphic footage from the atrocities committed last month that claimed the lives of 1,400 Israelis and resulted in terrorist group Hamas taking 240 hostages. The images were culled from hundreds of hours of footage retrieved from terrorist body cams, security cameras, victims’ mobile phones and other sources.
Protesters waving Israeli and Palestinian flags gathered outside the Museum of Tolerance, which was under heavy protection by the Los Angeles Police Department, where the screening took place. Multiple fights reportedly broke out outside the event but no arrests were made.
While organizers took pains to keep the screening under wraps, word leaked out in the press in recent days that actress Gal Gadot was going to be hosting the event. Gadot was not present but she was among a number of industry figures including fellow Israeli Guy Nativ, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind the new film “Golda,” who helped organizers Sara Greenberg and Melissa Zukerman put the screening together.
Greenberg cited the growing movement to discredit and distort the truth of the massacre as the rationale for hosting the screening. “We not only need to defend ourselves, we need to defend the truth,’ she said.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to both the U.S. and the U.N. was among several speakers who shared their thoughts before “Bearing Witness” was shown. “Screening the footage is of the utmost importance,” he said. “It will change the way you view the Middle East and the war in Gaza.”