'Israel has turned into a Nazi society': Haim Bresheeth-Žabner deplores the rot in Israeli society

6 min read
09 May, 2024

Professor Haim Bresheeth-Žabner, a Jewish Israeli academic, comes from a family that survived the Holocaust. He is an author, film studies scholar and filmmaker, as well as a former IDF soldier.

For the last few decades, Bresheeth-Žabner has been a vocal critic of Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

In a recent interview with The New Arab, Professor Bresheeth-Žabner offered his insights into the dynamics within Israeli society since Hamas's attacks on October 7 and the subsequent genocide in Gaza.

Since January 7, protests against Netanyahu have persisted, prompting some to interpret them as a sign of change. However, Professor Bresheeth-Žabner holds a different perspective.

To him, Israel after October 7 went from fascism, as related to the rights of Palestinians, to something akin to Nazism — a controversial comparison but one that an increasing number of Jewish voices like him are starting to make, implicitly and explicitly.

An excerpt of the Q&A below is shortened for brevity.

Are Israeli protests a positive indication that support for the genocide is diminishing within Israeli society?

I believe the protests in Israel are not truly about Palestine. Both sides of this debate seem to agree on genocide. They're advocating for Jewish rights, not Palestinian rights.

Israel's current wave of protests is about shifting from one genocidal camp to another. The new camp is even more racist towards Palestinians. Israel is a democracy for Jews but not for Palestinians.

Is there no shift taking place then?

Only 3.2% of Israeli Jews believe their state uses too much force in Gaza, while 43% perceive the force as too little. 87.4% justify casualties on the Palestinian side.

"Israeli society is incapable of rational thinking, they have switched to a mode of behaviour akin to full genocide"

If you wish to understand why Israel has no future, just look at the results of this survey [conducted by Tel Aviv University].

The figure to highlight is 3.2%. That represents the true size of the opposition to the genocide. What future is there for such a society?”

Israeli society is incapable of rational thinking, they have switched to a mode of behaviour akin to full genocide and show no inclination to reflect, question, or consider the human cost or legalities of their actions.

Could hope be found in the implementation of a Truth and Reconciliation process like that in South Africa?

I never believed in talking to Zionists. I believe in BDS, (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) I also joined the ANC (African National Congress), which ruled that whites would be allowed to stay in South Africa if they were not racist, and the rest could leave.

"Israel has now transitioned from being officially fascist to a Nazi society"

Israel itself is a Zionist organisation. The organisation is racist at its core and believes in ethnic cleansing. It has deteriorated into a state of genocide. You can't talk to the Zionists in the same way you could not talk to Hitler.

The whole society in Israel requires re-education.

Israeli and Western media have always portrayed Palestinians as nonhumane, more so even for the past seven months. [credits: Haim Bresheeth-Žabner (R)]

One well-known Israeli academic friend of mine wrote an article on October 8 that said, "I would personally care to kill everyone in Hamas, from the boy who brings the mail to Sinwar." I ask you, do you know any professors anywhere who are volunteering to commit genocide?

Israel has now transitioned from being officially fascist to a Nazi society. I don't believe those protesting in the streets have any qualms about the occupation; While they may have differing opinions on settlements and Netanyahu they are unaware or indifferent to the human rights violations of Palestinians.

On the other hand, it is remarkable that despite the hardships endured by the people of Palestine, they have not turned into anti-Semitic zealots and still advocate for a one-state solution. However, expecting Palestinians in Gaza to coexist with those who are intent on ethnically cleansing them would be inhumane.

Over 90% of Israelis support this genocide. That should never be forgotten.

If reconciliation is not an option in your view, what then do you see as the path forward?

The path forward is to dismantle Zionism: to oppose Zionism in every possible way. I doubt peace is achievable after the events of the last seven months. There can be no reconciliation with Zionism, just as there can be no reconciliation with colonialism or Nazism.

Zionism is inherently inhumane and fascist.

I believe Israelis and Zionists need a process akin to denazification, similar to what the Nazis underwent. Until then, reconciliation is not possible.

Numerous instances of genocidal rhetoric broadcast on Israeli national TV have been cited. How influential has the Israeli media been in fuelling the flames of hatred?

Israeli media dehumanises Gazans. If you follow Israeli media, you'd be oblivious to the events in Gaza. They don't depict Palestinian suffering, nor do they acknowledge them as human beings. They outrightly ignore the atrocities being committed in Gaza.

When they talk about Palestinians, they portray them as nonhuman. What they show is a heroic image of their soldiers; the Israeli army is actually seen as the victims.

The media proudly showcase the bombings of buildings and soldiers walking in deserted and destroyed parts of Gaza, supposedly looking for hostages and such nonsense! They certainly do not show what these soldiers do to the Palestinians.

How do you perceive the stance of the British media, given its insistence that contributors condemn Hamas while not soliciting condemnation for the genocide?

I think the British media is terrifyingly Islamophobic, imperialist, and blind.

The British media are all in hock to the Israeli lobby; they always qualify with IDF-driven slogans and memes. They stoked the hatred against Palestinians by sharing unproven Israeli claims, which have all turned out to be lies.

"The British media were a conduit for Israeli lies coming from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv"

"Beheaded babies, mass rapes, and people being burnt alive…” the list goes on. When their lies are exposed, the British media simply ignore or omit them completely.

Hamas was never allowed to respond to Israel’s lies, and without a single foreign journalist in Gaza, the British media were a conduit for Israeli lies coming from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The British media promoted the genocide as “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

[The British Government] is playing a game with Zionism as it did since 1917.

The British Empire is pushing ahead with another crime; the UK government believes that it should actually sell more arms to Israel, not less, despite the fact that it is illegal to sell arms to a state committing war crimes.”

What do you make of Israel's assertion that its actions constitute self-defence?

This did not start on October 7; it began over 125 years ago. The objective was always to control the entirety of Palestine.

In his diary, Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism plans the ‘transfer’ or ‘transiting’ of what he calls ‘the paupers’ – a term he uses for the Palestinian indigenous population, to the countries around Palestine to make way for Jewish settlement.”

"What is happening in Gaza today is an extension of Herzl's plan to empty Palestine of Palestinians"

If one wonders about the reasons for the genocide, it started in the 1890s as part of Herzl's plan to depopulate Palestine.

In 1948, the approach was to kill people in a village and the surrounding ones would flee.

What is happening in Gaza today is an extension of Herzl's plan to empty Palestine of Palestinians.

However, we, the people, are now watching, and though they may not consider us to be important, we play a crucial role by collecting evidence for future trials and by bearing witness to their war crimes.”

Salwa Amor is an independent documentary maker. Most recently she was one of the producers of the award-winning BBC Panorama "Children of Syria" two-part series