That attack outside L.A. sushi was antisemitic, right? Think again, says lawyer for accused

Xavier James Pabon is a 30-year-old Puerto Rican father who decided to join a protest against Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip after his boss showed him pictures of dead Palestinian children being pulled from rubble after an Israeli airstrike.

Burning paper heads

In May, he joined a caravan of cars that drove past the storefronts and restaurants lining North La Cienega Boulevard, waving Palestinian flags and shouting anti-Israel comments through a loudspeaker.

At a sidewalk table at one of those restaurants, Mher Hagopian, a Beirut-born wedding photographer, was chatting with some Jewish clients when a caravan of vehicles, including the one Pabon was in, idled at a long red light outside the restaurant.

What happened next is settled fact within an outraged, anxious Jewish community, both in L.A. and nationally: video shows Pabon and others leaping from their vehicles and charging the diners in what many saw as an unprovoked antisemitic attack, which is how Hagopian and the high-powered legal team surrounding him are describing it.

“They were targeting,” Hagopian told the Forward.

But Pabon’s lawyer, Mark Kleiman, has a very different, as-yet unheard read on the incident.

Read the full story here.