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Dreyfus was guilty!

Dreyfus était culpable! That’s what an enraged Greek officer accused of the premeditated murder of senator Lambrakis yells at the prosecutor in Kostas-Gavras’ movie, “Z”, which is about the events that led up to the fascist coup in 1967.

Albert Dreyfus was a French army officer from a well-to-do Alsatian Jewish family who was accused and convicted of espionage for Germany in the early 1890s. He did hard time on Devil’s Island. Émile Zola wrote the polemic J’accuse! in his defense. The Dreyfus Affair occasioned such an open torrent of official and popular anti-Semitism that it was thought France, not Germany, was most likely to massacre its Jewish population.

Dreyfus was eventually acquitted. It was revealed that he was a patsy in a coverup: the French establishment was rotten to the core. It didn’t matter in the end. Anti-Semitic conspiracy fantasies didn’t just endure, they proliferated, and the Holocaust happened anyway. 75% of foreign-born French Jews were murdered, with the active connivance of the police. So much for Paris, the “city of light”, and the ideals of 1789, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

But as we know- and some of the story is legend, but that’s okay, it’s embellishment in the service of the truth- Theodor Herzl was shocked by the sadistic humiliation of Dreyfus. He thought, if this can happen here in the enlightened 19th century in the heart of civilized Europe, it can happen anywhere. He was right. It can happen anywhere, it did, and it still does. The first Zionist congress convened in Basel in 1897. It was a necessary start, but the establishment of the State of Israel came a decade too late to rescue the Jews of Europe.

I watched the new Netflix series on Hitler the other night, and was shocked to hear one of the talking heads interviewed compare Hitler’s alpine lair to President Trump’s holiday home, Mar-a-Lago. I thought I’d heard wrong, but the next day the Times of Israel published an adulatory interview with the director of the series, a Jew no less, who boasted of the comparison as though it were the most astute historical insight since Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

What’s wrong with American Jews? Are we the latest iteration of the cartoonish self hatred that occasioned dark humor about German Jews chanting in unison Raus mit uns! (“Out with us!”)? The caricature of the gentle, civilized, brilliant German Jewish community is unfair.  You try having your whole life overturned; your neighbors turn from friends into bestial, sadistic enemies; your home and everything you had or thought you were, taken away from you. Well, we may find out. No, we’re finding out. The Nazification of Columbia and Harvard- the first, my alma mater; the second, where I taught most of my working life- hasn’t surprised me. I saw it coming long ago. But it’s still a monstrosity.

President Donald Trump pushed through the Abraham Accords, which have survived the Gaza war. He moved the US Embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, despite the determined opposition of the Foggy Bottom establishment. He had the IRGC thug Soleimani sent where he belongs, and there was no apocalyptic cataclysm: the Iranians had to suck it in. The economy did great, inflation was low, and there was peace. Trump asserted control over this country’s borders. Now we have a geriatric, corrupt incompetent in the White House, war is raging in the Ukraine and the Middle East, inflation is soaring, college campuses have become encampments of Hamas and Hezbollah, and “woke” ideology stands fair to destroy the foundations of the Republic.

During his tenure in office, President Trump weathered not one but two impeachments. Both times the charges of collusion with Russia or the Ukraine were pure fiction. No hard evidence was ever produced. Nothing was ever proven. But the present-day  Democratic Party and its partners in crime are wedded to the conviction that a man is guilty until proven innocent. For them, the sole purpose of the system of justice is the destruction of their enemies. They work according to the old KGB maxim: Get us the man and we’ll find the law.

Except they can’t quite find the law, can they? Trump’s had two Dreyfus trials. Now he’s just had a third. Trump was tried in NYC on 34 counts of falsifying business records. These are misdemeanors, and would be covered in any case by the statute of limitations, unless it can be proven that the records were falsified in order to cover up another crime or crimes. Throughout the trial, the prosecutor never clarified what the other crimes actually were, and neither did the judge instructing the jury. The judge, who gave small donations in 2020 to several Democrat-linked organizations, including an outfit calling itself “Stop Republicans”, should obviously have recused himself. Democrats howl for the recusal of judges they dislike, on much flimsier grounds. You mean to say that the Left (I call it the brownshirt left) has double standards? Mon Dieu! I am shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that gambling is going on in this establishment. Your winnings, sir. Oh yes, thank you. (If you haven’t seen “Casablanca”, watch it.)

Trump was convicted on all counts. He’ll appeal. And then they’ll concoct some other deviltry, some new Dreyfus Affair. Maybe he’ll run for a second term from some cell in New York’s version of the Lubyanka— the KGB’s prison in downtown Moscow. Maybe they’ll bump him off first: the notorious Jeffrey Epstein was about to sing like a canary but “committed suicide” in a Manhattan jail cell. Too bad the cameras had been switched off in advance. Only a virtuoso circus acrobat could have killed himself the way Epstein was supposed to have done.

I mentioned Gibbon’s Decline and Fall. Let me recommend another book about ancient history: de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.

Trump is guilty. Guilty of what? What day is it? He was guilty of being a Russian spy last week. Yesterday it was Stormy Daniels. Isn’t he pro-Israel? He’s guilty of colonialism, genocide, white privilege, heterosexual male toxicity, and Zionism. We’ll add unadvertised specials to that menu during the next trial.

And oh yes, Dreyfus was guilty. He was guilty of being a Jew. So, by the way, was Jesus Christ, and look what the court sentenced Him to. Bang, bang! All rise! Have you reached a verdict? We have, your honor. Guilty!

About the Author
Born New York City to Sephardic Mom and Ashkenazic Dad, educated at Bronx Science HS, Columbia, Oxford, SOAS (Univ. of London), professor of ancient Iranian at Columbia, of Armenian at Harvard, lectured on Jewish studies where now live in retirement: Fresno, California. Published many books & scholarly articles. Belong to Chabad.