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Lebanese Victim Of L.A. Attack Is Hailed As Hero For Defending His Jewish Friends

On May 18, dozens of Arabs approached a table where four men were sitting at the Sushi Fumi restaurant in LA and asked “Who’s Jewish?” before violently attacking them, throwing glass bottles at them, spraying them with pepper spray, and beating them up.

Three days later, the police, assisted by the US. Marshal Service, arrested the main suspect of the attack on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime by the LAPD.

Three of the victims were Iranian American Jews but the fourth victim, Mher, is not Jewish. Jewish Journal spoke to Mher, an Armenian-Lebanese Christian who is being hailed as a hero for defending his Jewish friends. For safety reasons, he asked to be identified only by his first name.

“I feel pain everywhere in my body,” Mher, 36, said. “They beat me in my shoulders, stomach, back, and my ribs, which especially hurt. My head has a big bump. It makes sense since four people beat me. And it’s been hard to sleep; I only slept two hours in the last 48 hours. I keep seeing everything that happened again and again, and I dream about what happened. And I keep asking myself, ‘Maybe I could have done more?'”

Mher, who works as a photographer, was out for dinner with two of his clients who became his friends, along with one of their friends, and they saw cars approaching with Palestinian flags. “I assumed my Jewish friends were targeted because we were in a pretty Jewish area [Beverly Grove],” Mher said. “The men started cursing against Israel. They yelled, ‘You guys are killing children! You’re raping our women! You have to feel ashamed of yourselves!”

“Then they started throwing bottles. We got lucky because one of my friends was sitting in front of me. I saw one guy throwing the bottle and it almost hit my friend in the head. I myself have cuts, probably from the glass.”

“And then, one of them said, ‘Who’s Jewish?’ I knew they could be violent, so I came closer to them and started speaking in Arabic.”

“I said, ‘You want to protest? Protest peacefully. We’re having dinner. We’re not in a war zone.’ But they didn’t respond. I went closer to them and asked them not to throw glasses. Then, two guys jumped out of a car and ran toward me. I yelled in Arabic, ‘Chill out!’ One of them heard me speaking Arabic and seemed to calm down. Then, I saw about 15 people coming toward me. That was not a situation that I could control by speaking Arabic. A big guy threw a bottle at me and tried to punch me. When I saw that they were beating one of my friends on the floor and kicking him in the head, I knew I had to do something, so I grabbed a stanchion and tried to scare them away. We got my friend off the floor, but four of the men started beating me.”

Mher said that he’s not a hero and he was just there at the right time to protect his friends. “If I would be called a loyal friend, it would be better than being called a hero. I was invited to speak at a synagogue this [coming] Friday evening. I’ll do it, but told them that I’m not a speaker.”

Since the attack, Mher has been flooded with support and a friend of one of the diners even started a GoFundMe campaign that raised $36,000 in less than 48 hours to help with his medical expenses. (Fortunately, however, he was badly bruised, cut, and sprayed with pepper spray but did not sustain any serious physical injuries).

Mher said that “a lot of dentists, lawyers, and doctors said they’ll cover my bills. I don’t want all that. The pain will go away. But the support will stay forever.”

“I booked two [photography] jobs this week — a birthday and bar mitzvah. Someone told me that he wanted to cancel a photographer he’d already booked and hire me, but I said, “No. That photographer might need that job to put food on his or her table.”

“On Instagram, I received almost 4,000 messages of thanks, mostly from Jewish people,” Mher said. “Two Palestinian clients in Los Angeles texted me and said the attackers are animals. They said, ‘They don’t represent us.'”

Mher said he received messages from Israel, Columbia, Canada, France, Italy, all over the world, and a lot from New York. “I’ve been invited to Israel. I said, ‘Okay, I’ll come. I’ve never been there.’ So I texted our group —all of us who were attacked at the restaurant — and said, ‘Let’s go to Israel.'”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

4 Responses

  1. How dumb can you be to keep blaming everything on the Zionists and the Democrats?? Jews have been hated for thousands of years way before any democrats or Zionists were in existance so get a life and blame only the ones that should be blamed, those rotten antisemites themselves

  2. Absolute blame is on the Zionists. They shldnt be there in the first place. But thwy wldnt listen. G d DOES NOT ALLOW A MEDINAH BEFORE REDEMPTION. They dont represent Jews. It shldve been easy to comprehend as theyre mostly secular too and dont observe G ds commandments. What do they show for themselves as the so called Jewish representativeS? Nothing. They established a land that has nothing with Judaism but Jews are blamed for their violence.
    In any case they dont care for humanity as the Palestinians dont. This hero deserves to be applauded for standing up for his friends. I hope they’re all doing ok.

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