Why a Leading Nazi Invoked Purim with His Dying Breaths

March 8 2023

A member of the National Socialist party since 1922, Julius Streicher may have been less directly involved in mass murder than the other nine men sentenced to be hanged by the Nuremberg tribunal, but as the editor of Der Stürmer he did more even than Goebbels to produce anti-Semitic propaganda, usually of the most explicit kind. Just before his execution—between a shout of “Heil Hitler” and a farewell to his wife—he cried “Purimfest 1946!” Jeff Jacoby notes that Streicher was well informed about the holiday:

At Pleikhershof, his country estate, [Streicher] had a collection of books about Purim, in which he underlined in red the references to Haman and his fate. In 1934, Der Stürmer published a lengthy article on Purim headlined “The Night of Murder: The Secret of the Jewish Holiday of Purim Is Unveiled.” Fitting, then, that as Streicher went to his death, uppermost in his mind was the parallel between the hanging of Haman’s ten evil sons and the hanging of Hitler’s ten Nazi accomplices. His outburst—“Purimfest 1946!”—may have mystified those who were present, but it wasn’t meaningless. . . .

At one point in the book of Esther, Haman reveals his true mind. At a banquet he boasts of all the glory, wealth, and influence he has achieved. “Yet all this is worthless to me,” he said, “so long as I see Mordechai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” That is the unforgivable offense: Mordechai the Jew refuses to blend in, to disappear, to be indistinguishable from everyone else. Underneath everything, it is the Jew’s identity—not his money, his success, or his customs—that the anti-Semite cannot bear.

Streicher imagined that Hitler and Germany would succeed where Haman had failed; in the end, approaching the gallows, he knew it was a “Purimfest” all over again. But the defeat of anti-Semitism is never permanent. The hatred of Jews is again on the march, even in America, where for so long it was banished from respectable society. Purim is a joyous holiday, but more and more Jews are watching their backs.

Read more at Arguable

More about: Anti-Semitism, Nazism, Nuremberg Trials, Purim

Strengthening the Abraham Accords at Sea

In an age of jet planes, high-speed trains, electric cars, and instant communication, it’s easy to forget that maritime trade is, according to Yuval Eylon, more important than ever. As a result, maritime security is also more important than ever. Eylon examines the threats, and opportunities, these realities present to Israel:

Freedom of navigation in the Middle East is challenged by Iran and its proxies, which operate in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and recently in the Mediterranean Sea as well. . . . A bill submitted to the U.S. Congress calls for the formulation of a naval strategy that includes an alliance to combat naval terrorism in the Middle East. This proposal suggests the formation of a regional alliance in the Middle East in which the member states will support the realization of U.S. interests—even while the United States focuses its attention on other regions of the world, mainly the Far East.

Israel could play a significant role in the execution of this strategy. The Abraham Accords, along with the transition of U.S.-Israeli military cooperation from the European Command (EUCOM) to Central Command (CENTCOM), position Israel to be a key player in the establishment of a naval alliance, led by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain.

Collaborative maritime diplomacy and coalition building will convey a message of unity among the members of the alliance, while strengthening state commitments. The advantage of naval operations is that they enable collaboration without actually threatening the territory of any sovereign state, but rather using international waters, enhancing trust among all members.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy