There is an unspeakably gruesome video circulating of a 14-year-old Palestinian boy shot down in Jerusalem while an extremist Israeli screams racist taunts. I don’t post gruesome because it seems disrespectful to the dying boy & to others dying anguished deaths & also because direct confrontation with such monstrous crimes demoralizes people rather than mobilizes their anger. That’s the experience of political movements going back decades. Though I surely do not condemn those who do post them, hoping to educate.
There is another reason also & that is to avoid demonizing all Israelis as monsters when this incident included only extremists. There have been protests in Israel opposing the rampage against Palestinians as they opposed Operation Ethnic Cleansing in Gaza in 2014. The purpose of solidarity with Palestinians is to strengthen their struggle against the Zionist state & in the long run win over Israeli citizens to dismantling Israel & establishing a democratic, secular state where Jews live with Palestinians as brothers & sisters. A daunting political task but one that cannot be accomplished by demonizing all Israelis at the outset.
The monstrous behavior of Israeli extremists & the Israeli military is not sui generis in the history of colonialism–not by a long shot. Africans, Maoris, Hawaiians, Indigenous peoples of Australia & the Americas, Rohingya in Myanmar, Dalits & other oppressed castes in India, Kashmiris under Indian occupation, Black Americans under Jim Crow, & the list of horrors goes on & on because that is the nature of racism & colonialism.
Israel is repeating that ignominious pattern because it is a colonial project which Zionism has been from the outset (in the 19th century) when it rejected the broader struggle against racism & colonialism & instead threw in its lot with them, hoping to derive benefits for Jews from colonialism at the expense of others.
Not demonizing an entire people does not mean not condemning in the strongest terms those engaged in such unspeakable crimes against Palestinians, young & old, & demanding the Israeli government stop its rampage against Palestinians & end the occupation.
Building BDS is the most effective way to put pressure on Israel & on its working people to break with Zionism & join the rest of the human race fighting to end racism & colonialism. That is of course a daunting historic mission but one which the future of humanity makes imperative.