The Hamas attack on Saturday could have been limited to military targets. They successfully overran IDF outposts and killed scores of soldiers, kidnapping more of them. Such an operation would have been a spectacular display of strategy and intelligence. One could understand Palestinian pride at such an attack.
But Hamas' goal, and the goal of their Iranian consultants, wasn't to defeat the IDF in a battle. The army was not the target of the operation. The IDF soldiers were a mere roadblock on the way to the real goal - of murdering, raping and kidnapping as many Jews as possible.
The kibbutzim weren't a military target. The villages weren't a military target. The music festival wasn't a military target. But they were the primary targets of the Palestinian terrorists, who gleefully took videos of their attacks against women and children, showing naked women as trophies, burning houses to force Jews to leave and be murdered, shooting rockets not to directly kill the Jews but to force them to run to shelters where they could be slaughtered en route.
Today, there are many articles in Arabic media about how this operation restored "dignity" to Palestinians. Al Jazeera, which was in the forefront of celebrating 9/11, published "Al-Qassam [Hamas] succeeded in restoring all meanings of dignity, pride, power and victory among Palestinians and Arabs."
Killing Jewish civilians isn't collateral damage. It is the goal. It is the highest aspiration of Palestinians. And judging from the responses in Arab editorials, it is one that is shared by a great percentage of the Arab world.
Comparing anyone to Nazis is almost always a lazy rhetorical device, meant to shock more than illuminate. But seeing the glee that accompanied this attack, as well as all other "successful" attacks on Jews in Israel, points to one comparison that cannot be ignored.
Certainly there were some Nazis who were extraordinarily sadistic, whose hate of Jews prompted them to come up with new ways of humiliating and breaking the spirit of Jewish victims. But much of the horror of the Holocaust was that it turned murder into an assembly line process. For the Nazis, dehumanizing the Jews was a necessary precondition for masses of Germans to take part in the genocide. But the Nazis tried to shield the Germans from seeing the murders directly.
The US Holocaust Museum's article on the mobile killing units, the Einsatzgruppen who murdered up to two million Jews, describes how the shootings morphed into the initial gassings: "The mass shootings were resource-intensive, requiring many shooters and escort guards as well as guns, ammunition, and transport. Concerns about the inefficiency of the shootings and their psychological impact on the shooters led to the development of special vans outfitted with engines that pumped carbon monoxide into sealed passenger compartments. "
The only psychological impact we have seen in the Arab world to the deliberate slaughter of hundreds of innocent Jews in a single day is an overflow of happiness and glee.
The German people and other antisemites in Eastern Europe who enabled the Holocaust with their centuries-old hate of Jews were not, on the whole, gleeful about the killings (unless they could directly profit by stealing the Jews' possessions.) They looked at murdering Jewish children the same way they looked at someone exterminating rats and mosquitoes - a dirty but necessary job. The gas chambers murdered the Jews while protecting the ":civilized" Germans from having to witness their deaths.
The Arabs, on the other hand, revel in trading videos of dead Jews like baseball cards.
Germans didn't hand out sweets on the street corners for every dead Jew. The Palestinians do - and not one of them says publicly how disgusting this is.
The Palestinians aren't embarrassed at their glee. Much of the larger Arab world is gleeful as well. People have rightly noted that Simchat Torah was Israel's 9/11 - but this is not only true from the victims' side but from the attackers' side as well. The same spontaneous celebrations that broke out in Arab capitals on September 11, 2001 are being seen from Muslims living in Western capitals, today, because so many Jews were slaughtered. As I noted earlier today, one Al Jazeera columnist said that the entire Muslim world was celebrating, saying the massacre and rapes "inspired hope in the hearts of the Palestinians at home and abroad, and in the hearts of the Arab and Islamic peoples, in an unprecedented way."
Palestinians will be writing poems and songs celebrating their murder of Jews for years and decades to come.
The idea that killing Jews is the ultimate source of pleasure can be seen in another way. According to the IDF, some 1,500 terrorist bodies have been found in Israel. For all the hundreds of Jews killed, more Hamas members were killed already outside the airstrikes in Gaza. Sacrificing more than one militant to kill each Israeli civilian is still considered "dignified."
One can easily imagine the parents of the 1,500 dead Palestinians in terms of the story of Sisera's mother in the Song of Deborah, being comforted knowing that her son's troops are sharing "a womb or two for every soldier." But the Palestinian parents are more monstrous than Sisera's mother - they know their sons are not coming home, but they feel that the Jews they murdered and the women they raped made their deaths worthwhile.
Can anyone doubt that Palestinians would happily use a nuclear bomb to destroy Israel even if it killed most of them as well? Can anyone doubt that the Palestinians would happily architect a new Holocaust to murder the seven million Jews in Israel if they had the capability?
We are seeing Palestinian supporters worldwide celebrating dead, raped and kidnapped Jews. They aren't Nazis. But in a narrow sense, they are far worse.