One of the most accurate aspects about Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza is the use of the word Nazi to describe the terrorist enemy. No other label or historical parallel could capture the chilling ferocious madness – but not scope – of Palestinian butchery of Israelis. The Nazi vilification epithet has now become conventional Israeli discourse in public and media circles with the vivid revelation – in words and photos – of Palestinian savagery and barbarism by Hamas on October 7. Hamas terrorists, without an ounce of inhibition or remorse, shot youth in cold blood at the music festival at Re’im, burnt and beheaded Jews, vaunting their sadistic impulses upon children, men, and the elderly – raping women and girls. They decapitated a baby cut from the mother’s womb in front of her eyes. The pyromaniacs set fire to homes, barns and cars.
Nazis and Jews
The murder of approximately 1,200 Israelis in an orgy of bloodshed evoked the sensation that Nazis carried out such a horrific massacre of helpless Jews on that ‘Black Saturday’ on Gaza’s border. Decades of Palestinian terrorism upgraded from stoning and stabbing Jews to the diabolical nightmare of Nazi crematoria – burning Jewish people alive. Later, in a child’s room in Gaza, Israeli soldiers came upon an Arabic translation of Mein Kampf, Hitler’s bible. The kidnapping of 241 Israelis to Gaza became an additional chilling chapter of this unparalleled ordeal.
Are the Palestinians Nazis by ideology?
Berl Katznelson, the foremost leader of Labor Zionism until his death in 1944, was a witness to Arab massacres of Jews in the 1920s and 1930s. He referred to “the Palestinian Nazis who succeeded to unite here in [Eretz] Israel the zoological antisemitism of Europe and the lust for the dagger of the Orient.” The connection between Nazis and Palestinians led the esteemed songwriter Naomi Shemer to offer a remarkable insight:
“Arabs like their murder hot, moist, and steamy, and if they will ever be free to fulfill themselves, we [Jews] will yearn for the good sterile gasses of the Germans.”
In Kfar Aza and Be’eri, Nir Oz and Sderot, there was no Palestinian industrialized war machine in operation; rather just primitive hordes of “Muhammad’s monsters” mangling and mutilating Jews whose innocence, in the double sense of the word, became ready prey for the Gazan rabble run wild. To define those Hamas Palestinian as ‘terrorists’ is a gross understatement, perhaps a euphemism.
In Israel today, after the October 7 pogrom, the liberation of language has allowed the use of ‘Nazi’ to describe the horrendous event. During the entire year prior to the pogrom, the leftist street protests against the judicial reform package of the Netanyahu government introduced the odious word – Nazi – specifically targeting Netanyahu himself. Placards portrayed him in a Nazi uniform, the demonization of the prime minister becoming a central axis of the intense brainwashing campaign. The year 1933 became a symbolic benchmark for Netanyahu’s devious dictatorial designs – said the protest.
Of memorable notoriety was ex-general and member of Knesset Yair Golan’s “processes speech” from 2018 that hinted Israel was already adopting Nazi features in its ideological transformation from a democracy to a dictatorship. The end of liberty in Israel was approaching. The leftist-liberal secular camp, unhinged and full of hatred for Netanyahu during the decades of his premiership, had lost its cultural poise and historical judgment. When the Arab Nazis struck and slaughtered in October, the outrageous accusation that the rightist-nationalist camp is Nazi-like paled and dissolved.
The gruesome real Nazis changed the contours of the domestic Israeli dialogue. Now Netanyahu, the would-be Nazi in the furtive imagination of some bewitched Israelis, labeled Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, “a little Hitler hiding in a bunker” on November 5. Here was a candidate worthy of the title.
However, many years earlier, the enemies of Israel from near and far had adopted the Nazi charge against the Jewish state as an ideological staple of de-legitimization. The Russians had initiated this perversion of comparing Zionism to Nazism, and their Syrian proxy followed suit. The loathsome ‘Zionism-is-Nazism’ canard served to vilify Israel and render its existence to be a wicked injustice imposed on the Arabs, Muslims, and the world. This fabricated indictment shaped the victimology of the Palestinians that became a marketable political logo.
Incompatibilities and Conflict: The Primacy of Islam
Islam, the religion of the Muslim faithful, predominates in the political calculus of Hamas (an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement). This turns the Israeli–Palestinian clash into a Muslim–Jewish religious war. In the language of the Hamas covenant from 1988 (Art. 15): “the Palestinian problem is a religious problem” which obligates Muslims to conduct jihad. In Articles 20 and 31 Hamas makes the heinous accusation that Israel uses Nazi methods against the Palestinian people. Where has Israel concealed those death camps and gas ovens? Needless to say that the very victims of Nazism are not the Palestinians but the Jews, then in Europe and now in the Middle East.
It is worth recalling that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) earlier flung the Nazi charge against Israel in its 1964 Charter (Art. 22). This diatribe against Zionism is an incredulous inversion of truth, no less because of the intimate collaboration in World War II between Hitler and Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Palestinian leader in British-mandated Palestine. The latter’s ideological and nationalist successor, Yasser Arafat, stated in an interview in 1981 that “the Zionist invasion recalled the Nazi invasion” (of Austria, Poland…). Fatah, the core faction in the PLO, and Hamas are of one Palestinian mind.
The religious engine instructing, validating, inspiring, and mobilizing Hamas is, expectedly, the Koran. The book of Allah revealed to the prophet Muhammad guidance in confirming that the only true faith is Islam (3:18), it is above all religions (48:28), and it will conquer or convert the entire world. To “fight for the cause of Allah” (9:111) against “those who do not embrace the true faith” (9:29) is the greatest deed a Muslim can do. The “believers” (Muslims) must confront the “unbelievers” (Jews) and thereby establish truth and justice on earth. Indeed, “ruthlessness toward unbelievers” (48:29), beheading without mercy, is the mark of Islam as a complete religious-political way of life. For hundreds of years Muslim regimes applied restrictions and humiliations against dhimmi Jews (and Christians) in the lands of Islam – similar to Nazi Germany’s anti-Semitic legislation, turning Jewish citizens into outcasts and dwarfing their public presence. With the spread of armed radical Islam, militant and triumphalist, Muslims seek nothing less than a resounding victory against the Jewish people.
With an ineluctable mandate from Kitab Allah (The Book of God), no moral restrictions stayed the hand of Hamas savages. Like the Nazis in the 1930s, Hamas was always rearming and preparing for the war it would start. Nazis reviled the godless communists, Hamas reviled godless Fatah – and both saw the Jews as the ultimate and diabolical enemy. Hitler aroused frenzy among the Germans, he whipped up passion and hatred, and the mob would follow him; all this featured in the role of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successors – Ismail Haniyeh and Yahya Sinwar. In both cases, Germany and Palestine, exultant mass support for the regime as befits totalitarian movements was more essential than the democratic vote that brought them to power.
Hamas cutthroats and murderers assaulted civilian communities and military posts across the Gaza line and slaughtered the Israelis. The spirit of Itbach el-Yahud – “slaughter the Jews” – filled the air. This sacred mission gave life significance and purpose. Twelve hundred dead Israelis and 241 Israeli hostages were a trophy of victory that, when the news of the operation spread, brought the Gazan Palestinians to the streets, joyous at the Jewish blood spilled, and – as is customary – to distribute sweets and candies in celebration. Fatah followers in the West Bank were no less exuberant.
The Hamas plan for war was sophisticated in its tactical maneuvers and deceptive in implementation. In the months prior, Sinwar had avoided provoking Israel, rather conveying his emphasis on economic development for Gaza and shying away from joining the more active terror campaign by Islamic Jihad in Samaria. Netanyahu apparently may have believed that Israel had successfully deterred Hamas from any concerted military campaign. In the German case, until September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, Hitler conducted a disinformation campaign aimed at America, England, and Russia, to conceal his intention to go to war. In the end, Hitler fooled Chamberlain and later Stalin; Sinwar arguably fooled Netanyahu – as Arafat fooled Rabin, not with war but with a peace offensive.
War is at the heart of Islam and conquest is the banner of its glory. Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran inspiring, training, arming, and financing Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups, declared in a speech in 1942 that Islam is not a religion of peace. Rather, “Kill them [the non-Muslims] put them to the sword…Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword.” Religious euphoria bonds with the Islamic maxim: Din Muhammad bi’l Saif (the religion of Muhammad by the sword). Khomeini demanded that no one should insult Islam by calling it a religion of peace. His Hamas proxies, bold and ferocious, did not disappoint.
The classic Islamic works – Sirat Rasul Allah and The Sahih Al-Bukhari Anthology – relate the gruesome actions and instructions of Muhammad against enemy forces. They document his war against his own Quraysh tribe, the expulsion of the Bani al-Nadir tribe, and the slaughter of the Bani Qurayza. Mercy, attributed to Allah in the opening Al-Fatiha Koranic verse, was not included in the arsenal of qualities or attributes of Muhammad’s Muslims. A traditional saying commands: “Kill any Jews that fall into your power.” The Hamas Charter (Art. 8) cites the movement’s slogan: “Allah is its target, the prophet is its model, the Koran its constitutions, jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.” In a street rally in Ramallah weeks into the Gaza War, the chant arose: “Whoever has a rifle, shoot a Jew.”
The goal of the Nazis was to kill all the Jews and cleanse Germany of any Jewish presence. The Palestinians are unarguably their true successors and ideological compatriots in the Middle East, fighting to cleanse Israel of all Jews.
Reflections on Gnostic Heresy
The Hamas-Nazi analogy requires a few final reflections. Four distinctive features define the resemblance:
One: they engaged in the dehumanization of the Jews, as vermin (rats and parasitic insects) by the Nazis, and as apes and pigs by Hamas;
Two: they had the singular and obsessive objective of killing Jews more than even victory in war;
Three: they aspired to achieve global conquest in the name of their ideology – Nazism and Islamism – without compromise.
Four: German Nazism emerged in the 1920s with a fervent hatred of Great Britain and saw her as the major strategic rival, so to the Muslim Brotherhood – Hamas’ parent organization – was born in the same decade and saw Britain, with its mandate over Palestine, its Great Power enemy. The shame of the Versailles Treaty for Germany compared with the humiliation of the Balfour Declaration for the Arabs.
Germans and Palestinians acted under a mysterious spell, they did things out-of-the-ordinary in a conflictual-military context. They burnt Jews alive, and Hamas in earlier years conjured up the holocaust “still to come upon the Jews.” A primordial force operated in such cultures dedicated to domination but also destruction, the perpetrators never blaming themselves. They do not countenance the possibility of error. The Nazi truth and the Hamas truth are unassailable: the faithful ask no questions. Hitler youth in Germany and Islamic youth in Palestine receive an education that prepared them to sacrifice, murder, and die. Anointed to rule with a mission to launch a new era, Nazism and Islamism set forth to build a new world.
Only with such language and interpretation can we begin to grasp the violent nightmares that these diabolical gnostic forces imposed on their Jewish victims, and the world. Hitler’s declaration of the Thousand Year Reich, and Islam’s belief in the Coming of the Mahdi or the Day of Judgment, make possible and permit every conceivable monstrosity.
Dr. Mordechai Nisan taught Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
 The title of a book edited by David Bukay, Muhammad’s Monsters, Green Forest, Arkansas: Balfour Books, 2004.
 See my book The Crack-up of the Israeli Left, Canada: Mantua Books, 2019.
 Robert S. Wistrich, “Islamic Judeophobia: An Existential Threat,” in Muhammad’s Monsters, pp. 195-219.
 “A Discussion with Yasser Arafat,” Journal of Palestine Studies, 42, Winter 1982, pp. 4-5.
 Bat Ye’or, “Dhimmi Peoples – Oppressed Nations,” in Robert Spencer, ed., The Myth of Islamic Tolerance, Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2004, chapter 6, pp. 115-146. For most purposes, the Islamic diatribes against Jews are also against the Christians.
 See William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Pub., 1960, chapters 14-16.
 In Andrew G. Bostom, ed., The Legacy of Jihad, Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, p. 226.
 The source is Palestinian Media Watch, Nov. 11, 2023.
 Markos Zographos, Genocidal Antisemitism: A Core Ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, Occasional Paper Series, no. 4, 2001, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, p. 41.
 Rafael Medoff, “Hitler Youth in Gaza,” Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, Nov. 17, 2023.
 See Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1952, chapter VI, on the phenomenon of gnosticism in politics.