Video shows group of masked men ripping Israeli flag off wall of Bucks County business

Caroline Goggin Image
Thursday, November 2, 2023
Video shows group of men ripping Israeli flag off wall of business
Video shows group of masked men ripping Israeli flag off wall of Bucks County business

UPPER SOUTHAMPTON TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A business owner in Bucks County, Pennsylvania says the tensions over the war between Israel and Hamas led to his cafe being targeted.

Police in Upper Southampton Township are investigating what happened inside the Cafe Ole in the Valley on Wednesday evening.

At about 5:15 p.m., four men in face coverings walked into the business and headed straight back to a wall where an Israel flag was hanging.

Witnesses said the group was yelling "free Palestine."

The men pulled the flag off the wall and walked out of the cafe. The incident was caught on camera.

"They started parading around the shopping center, spitting on the flag, stomping it. We had patrons from the other businesses coming in. They were terrified," said Lawrence Kalikhman, co-owner of Cafe Ole in the Valley.

Kalikhman said they hung the Israeli flag a few weeks ago as a show of support for one of his business partners, who is from Israel and has family there.

"They just put it up in unity and solidarity. It wasn't meant for anything other than that," he explained.

Upper Southampton Township police told Action News they are currently investigating the incident.

"I don't know what message they were trying to promote, but what they did was they committed an act of terror. They disrupted a peaceful establishment. They scared young girls standing behind the counter," said Kalikhman.

The cafe owner said someone walked into his business on Thursday morning and gifted them a new Israeli flag to hang up on the wall.

Patrons of the cafe spoke with Action News about the incident.

Gennadiy Geyler, who is a regular at the business, described the situation as "just awful."

One patron, who is Israeli, said demonstrations like this are disappointing.

"Unfortunately, it's not surprising," she said. "We see it happening everywhere in America, in Europe."