Monday, March 3, 2014

Struma's Fate Provides Chilling Reminder of What is at Stake for Israel

The sinking of the Struma is a vivid, terrifying reminder of the atrocities committed against the Jewish people when they did not have a national homeland and a powerful indicator of what could happen to the Jewish people if Iran succeeds in destroying Israel, the national homeland reestablished by the Jewish people in 1948.

Sarah Honig's February 23, 2012 Jerusalem Post article about the Struma's demise is almost unbearably sad. Here are some heart-wrenching excerpts:

...Against the enormity of the then-unfolding Holocaust, the loss at sea of 768 Jewish lives (103 of them babies and children) was at most blithely overlooked as a marginal annotation.

Moreover, although these Jews fled the Nazis, in the pedantic literal sense they weren't executed by Third Reich henchmen.

This atrocity was the coldblooded handiwork of Great Britain (committed while it combated the Germans but remarkably without compassion for their Jewish victims), supposedly neutral Turkey (whose so-called nonalignment didn't extend to outcast Jewish refugees), by the Arabs (who were openly and unreservedly Nazism's avid collaborators and who pressured London into denying endangered Jews asylum in the Jewish homeland) and, finally, by the Russians (who targeted the immobilized sardine can that carried Jews to whom nobody would allow a toehold on terra firma).

The entire world seemed united in signaling Jews how utterly unwanted they were anywhere.

Such apathy-cum-enmity hasn't disappeared.

Only its form and context had mutated but the essence is still ultra-relevant to the Jewish state.

We're still threatened with annihilation. Nonetheless, unmistakable harangues from Tehran notwithstanding, the international community worries about an Israeli preemptive strike--not a genocidal strike against Israel.

The Struma was a barely seaworthy ship packed with Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi-occupied lands only to discover that they were unwelcome anywhere, a situation that emboldened the Nazis to accelerate their plan to kill every Jews on the face of the Earth: if the Jews were considered undesirable by every country in the world, then why should the Nazis think twice about annihilating them? Honig describes how this tragedy unfolded in front of the uncaring eyes of the entire world:

The Struma wasn't struck suddenly. It was slowly tortured, accentuating with demonic deliberation how disposable Jews were, just when genocide's monstrous machinery was switched into high gear. This 75-day shipboard melodrama underscored the total helplessness and humiliation of Jews without power.

Struma passengers gathered in the Romanian port of Constanza on December 8, 1941. For four days, Romanian customs officials "examined" their belongings. In fact, they pilfered all they saw--clothing, underwear, jewelry and most important, food. 

The Struma was eventually destroyed by a torpedo blast from a Soviet submarine; everyone onboard perished except for 19 year old David Stoliar, who--in Honig's words--"was imprisoned by the Turks for six weeks for the crime of not drowning."

Honig concludes:

Oblivion is perhaps the greatest sin against the Struma but also against ourselves. If we forget the Struma, we forget why this country exists, why we struggle for its survival. We forget the justice of our cause.

Dimmed memory and self-destructive perverse morality hinder our ability to protect ourselves from the offspring and torchbearers of the very Arabs who doomed the Struma. They haven't amended their hostile agenda. We just don't care to be reminded.

The state the Jews created is threatened with destruction and its population with obliteration.

Yet there's negligible sympathy for Israel and even less practical support to avert tragedy. The Struma's story is seminal in understanding why the Holocaust was possible and why a second Holocaust cannot be ruled out. More than anything, the Struma powerfully illustrates what happens when Jews rely on others' goodwill.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be well advised to read Honig's article, draw the proper conclusions and act accordingly before Iran uses nuclear weapons to destroy the Jewish State. Netanyahu can be remembered by history as the man who saved Israel or as the man who presided over Israel's destruction.

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