100 years ago: the US Navy Saved the Jews of Palestine


On October 6, 1914 the U.S. Navy’s USS North Carolina landed in the Jaffa harbor and delivered $50,000 to the U.S. consul general for distribution to the Jewish community. The USS North Carolina, Vulcan, Des Moines and Tennessee plied the eastern Mediterranean between Beirut and Cairo. Some of the ships delivered money, food and aid to the Jews of Eretz Yisrael until the United States entered the war in 1917. - 

The Jews of Eretz Yisrael “would have succumbed had not financial help arrived from America,” the Zionist Organization of London report declared.  “America was at that time the one country which through its political and financial position was able to save [Jewish] Palestine permanently from going under.”

The U.S. ships also left with valuable cargo – the Jews of Palestine who were expelled or had to flee the Turks because of their Zionist activity or draft dodging.  One such Palestinian Jew was Alexander Aaronson whose brother Aaron and sister Sarah were founders of the anti-Turk Nili spy network that helped the British.  Sarah killed herself after prolonged Turkish torture.

In his book With the Turks in Palestine, Alexander Aaronson relates that “One of the American cruisers, by order of Ambassador Morgenthau, was empowered to assist citizens of neutral countries to leave the Ottoman Empire. These cruisers had already done wonderful rescue work for the Russian Jews in Palestine, who, when war was declared, were to have been sent to the Mesopotamian town of Urfa—there to suffer massacre and outrage like the Armenians.”  Aaronson stealthily traveled to Beirut where he was able to sneak aboard the USS Des Moines. Once under sail, Aaronson wrote, “Friends discovered friends and tales of woe were exchanged, stories of hardship, injustice, oppression, all of which ended with mutual congratulations on escaping from the clutches of the Turks.”

- See more at: http://jcpa.org/u-s-navy-saved-jews/#sthash.q7yuLnJ7.dpuf