In the aftermath of the deadly Hamas terror attack in Jerusalem on November 21, which tragically took the life of 26-year-old Eli Kay and left four others others wounded (two civilians and two police officers), a number of groups and individuals affiliated with the anti-Israel movement intimated this blatant act of terrorism was justified or engaged in rhetoric that disparaged the victim.
A common theme throughout was the instrumentalization of the allegation that Israel is a settler colonial state, and, by extension, Kay a colonizer who had illegally invaded Palestinian lands. This, many strongly intimated, justified this indiscriminate attack on civilians. Still others asserted that the attack, and others targeting Israeli civilians, are simply the “price” Israelis must pay for their alleged actions.
Others demeaned Kay, who had recently immigrated from South Africa to Israel, including by calling him an “Afrikaner,” a reference to South Africans who descend from 17th century Dutch colonists. Several referred erroneously to Kay as a settler, dangerously implying that settlers are more legitimate targets for brazen acts of violence than other Israelis. In a few cases, Kay was labelled a soldier, alarmingly indicating the activists view fatal violence against the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) as legitimate. In fact, Kay was a civilian tour guide no longer serving in active duty in the Israel Defence Forces, and his current place of residence was Modiin, a city in central Israel between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The following social media posts either strongly intimate the attack was justified or make explicit attempts at justification:
- Activist group Decolonize this Place inaccurately labelled Kay a soldier and commented: “Palestinians like all oppressed peoples around the world have the right to resist their colonizer and to self-defense.” [full thread]
- Anti-Zionist Palestinian activist and poet Remi Kanazi: “As long as Palestinian oppression continues, Israelis cannot logically expect their own ‘calm’ to remain perpetually intact. The violence of settler colonialism always comes at a price.” [link]
- Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Houston-Clear Lake venerated the Hamas gunman with an image of individuals aiming guns into the distance. Accompanying text labels Israel “the colonizer.” [link]
- Anti-Israel activist Abbas Hamideh re-tweeted footage from the attack, commenting: “Where there is occupation, terrorizing the indigenous people of Palestine, there will be RESISTANCE.” [link]
- Lamis Deek, an activist affiliated with anti-Israel group Al-Awda NY, tweeted in response to Israeli analyst Mairav Zonszein’s criticism of the attack: “Colonizer says colonizers are not legitimate targets when they take their coffee in between genociding Palestinians.” [link]
In other posts, Kay was demonized, and some intimated that he may have deserved his fate:
- Electronic Intifada Editor Ali Abunimah: “Eliyahu David Kay, who was killed in occupied Jerusalem today, is a white South African who recently moved to the Zionist settler colony and joined its “army” to help murder Palestinians and steal their land. He was clearly addicted to apartheid and colonialism.” [link]
- NYC Solidarity with Palestine posted Quds News Network’s post incorrectly referring to Eliyahu Kay as a “colonial settler” and as an “Afrikaner”, which denotes the Dutch colonial settlers in S. Africa. [link]
- The Nation correspondent Mohammed El-Kurd described him as a settler from South Africa, invoking again the notion of Jews as colonizers, akin to the Dutch colonizers in South Africa. [link]