Why a Leading Nazi Invoked Purim with His Dying Breaths

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


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict