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Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

Love Yehuda Lave

My father bless his soul was a self made man who became a Journalist and the editor and publisher of his own newspaper.

He used to love today, because he would crack himself up with a joke about the Barnam and Bailey circus coming to down with the sign The greatest show on Earth coming to your town Sept 1.

My Father would say, I want to see the greatest show on Earth, not the cept one show.

Here is to you Dad.

Love Rabbi Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave giving two Zoom lectures on September 3 (this week) and next week September 9 for the Root and Branch organization (it has been associated with the OU for many years)

All one has to do is click the Registration link to sign up for the zoom

Rabbi Yehuda Lave: How Rabbis and Halacha have been affected by the Corona Epidemic
Thursday, September 3rd, 2020, 7 PM (Israel Time)
Registration open to anyone anywhere. Will result in an automatic email containing link to join the Zoom talk


Rabbi Yehuda Lave: Ten Great Stories from the Talmud
About the Talmud
About the Mishnah
About the Gemara
Wednesday, September 9th, 2020, 8:30 PM (Israel Time)
Registration open to anyone anywhere. Will result in an automatic email containing a link to join the Zoom talk

The Harel War Memorial near the Knesset in Jerusalem

On a warm summer day, the over the hill gang does a stay vacation in Jerusalem. The first stop, the uncompleted Harel Memorial near the Knesset. The next stop was the Jerusalem Bird Observatory.

Harel Brigade (Hebrew: חטיבת הראל, Hativat Harel) is a reserve brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, today part of the Southern Command. It played a critical role in the 1948 Palestine war, also known as "Israel's War of Independence." It's one of the former divisions of the Palmach, the elite fighting force of the Haganah, that remains in the Israeli Defense Forces.


The Harel Brigade was established on 16 April 1948 as a division of the Palmach, immediately after Operation Nachshon. It was composed of three battalions (Sha'ar Hagai - known as the First Battalion; Ha-portzim - known as the Second Battalion; and the Giv'ati 54th Battalion) 1,400 men,which had fought in Operation Nachshon in the Jerusalem area. Therefore, its name Harel ("Mountain of God") is taken from mount Zion in Jerusalem. This infantry unit was headed by Yitzhak Rabin, who was appointed its first commander, and who was later replaced by Joseph Tabenkin.During the early phase of the 1948 Palestine War (Israeli war of independence), the Palmach units became tactical combat units. In April 1948, the Harel brigade (AKA the 10th brigade) was formed to command all units in the Jerusalem corridor and hills. The Brigade's main assignments, besides acting as a "diversionary force" whenever needed, were twofold:

To fortify the area, guarding against attacks by the local Arab forces, and gaining ground where ever possible, in order to allow passage of supply convoys to Jerusalem.

To train and organize troops in the framework of the army-in-the-making.

Upon its establishment, the brigade commenced with Operation Harel, a direct continuation of Operation Nachshon, between 16 and 21 April

1948. On April 22, the brigade was assigned to Operation Yevusi with the goal of taking control of the northern ridges overlooking Jerusalem, and then taking control of the city's southern neighborhoods. During this operation the brigade sustained thirty-three killed in the battle for Nebi Samuel and nineteen dead in the Katamon neighborhood.

In Operation Maccabi during the first half of May 1948, the Harel Brigade took control of the Jerusalem corridor and opened the road until Shaar Hagai. On 17–19 May, a Harel force took Mount Zion and entered the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Later the brigade took part in Operation Danny, Operation Ha-Har, and Operation Horev.

The Palmach memorial website records 274 of its members dying while fighting with the Harel Brigade. Thirty-four were killed at Nabi Samuel and eighteen in Katamon.

Suez Crisis

During the Suez Crisis (Kadesh Operation) in 1956, the brigade fought as an infantry brigade commanded by Shmuel Gudar. In 1959, the brigade was made into a reserve unit of the Armored Corps.

Six-Day War

During the Six-Day War, the Harel Brigade used Sherman tanks in fighting at Radar Hill, north of Jerusalem, and went on to capture Ramallah.


In 2014, the Brigade became part of the Sinai Division and it

participated in Operation Protective Edge.

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto.

Ivanka Trump full remarks at the 2020 Republican National Convention

Ivanka Trump: "Washington has not changed Donald Trump. Donald Trump has changed Washington."

Full video here: LESS


Love And Hate: What Did Rav Kook Say?

By Tzvi Fishman

hoto Credit: Wikipedia

Baseless hatred destroyed the second Beit HaMikdash. In recent weeks, several people have been arrested for threatening to kill Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In light of the animosity in the air, The Jewish Press thought it wise to interview author and school principal Rabbi David Samson on the teachings of the legendary ohev Yisrael, Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, the first Ashkenazic chief rabbi of Palestine. Rabbi Samson has written four commentaries on Rav Kook’s writings.

The Jewish Press: What did Rav Kook say about love between people?


Rabbi Samson: Rav Kook taught that the “heart must be filled with a love for all.” This love, he wrote, must encompass all of G-d’s creation – non-Jews and Jews alike. Rav Tzvi Yehuda explained that his father’s unbounded love for the Jewish people stemmed from his birthright as a kohen. He said it could also be attributed to his immersion in the secrets of Torah, which finds unity and goodness in everything.

It is in a Jew’s connection to the lofty and ever-pure soul of Knesset Yisrael – past, present, and future – that the inner holiness and worth of every Jew can be found. Rav Kook taught that even the sinners of Israel, as long as they identified themselves with the Israelite nation, albeit in distorted fashions, were worthy of unreserved love. He wrote:

“The pious of the generation, lofty holy men, must disregard any deficiency or flaw in every Jewish soul that is in any way attached to the Rock from which it was hewn. Instead, they must raise the point of connection to Klal Yisrael that exists in every individual soul to its heights and exalted holiness. Nothing can diminish the unlimited love for the nation, the source of our life, as it says: ‘He has not seen beheld iniquity in Yaakov, nor has He seen perverseness in Israel’” (Orot, Orot HaTechiyah, 24).

Isn’t it ironic that although Rav Kook loved all people, not everyone loved him?

Unfortunately, the antagonism of the charedi zealots against his positive outlook toward the national contributions of the secular pioneers led to many distasteful attacks, including his being hung in effigy in the Zichron Moshe neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Once, on the way home from a brit milah in the Old City, a group of zealous charedim attacked his entourage and threw sewage water all over Rav Kook. Later in the day, the attorney general of the British Mandatory government visited the chief rabbi to express his anger over the shameful deed and to persuade the rav to file a criminal suit against the perpetrators.

Rav Kook replied, “I have no interest in legal actions. I love them despite what they did to me. I love them so much that I am even prepared to embrace and kiss them. My entire being burns with love for every single Jew!”

On another occasion, one of Rav Kook’s student’s tore down a placard that the zealots had pasted on walls throughout the city. The poster belittled Rav Kook in a most venomous fashion, calling him Shabbatai Zvi and other vile epithets. The angry student demanded that the chief rabbi call for an inquiry by the police to have the culprits arrested.

Rav Kook refused, explaining that surely he had faults that the embarrassing affair would help him atone for and that if a Jewish printer could make a little parnassa because of him, he was glad.

One night after midnight, the leader of the zealots knocked on the rabbi’s door, not wanting to be seen by his comrades at the home of the “Zionist Rabbi.” He explained that he had fallen into financial difficulty and lacked the money to pay for a medical treatment which his daughter badly needed.

Even though Rav Kook knew who the zealot was, he gave the man the two expensive silver candlesticks on his study mantle, not having any cash in his house, and wrote him a wholehearted recommendation for the doctor who would administer the treatment, asking him to lower the price.

Every year, Rav Tzvi Yehuda would tell new students that his father stressed that Ahavat Yisrael was not an abstract feeling but a commandment of the Torah that had to be worked on and observed as meticulously as any other clause in Shulchan Aruch.

Often, non-religious Jews hold up Rav Kook as a paragon of tolerance and an advocate of embracing all opinions in the name of harmony and peace.

Rav Kook saw the shortcomings of his generation as much as anyone else. Nevertheless, he sought to find merit in every Jew.

Rav Kook taught that hatred should only be directed toward the evil and filth in the world. He wrote: “It is proper to hate a corrupt person only for his defects, but insofar as he is endowed with a Divine image, it is necessary to love him. We must realize that this precious dimension of his worth is a more authentic expression of his nature than the lower characteristics that developed in him through the circumstances of his life” (Midot HaRayah, Ahavah, 9).

While Rav Kook’s love for the Jewish people knew no bounds, one should not think that he was some sort of liberal, reform rabbi who believed that everyone was free to do his own thing, G-d forbid. On the contrary, he harshly condemned desecrations of the Torah and did all he could to inspire transgressors to mend their ways.

For instance, he writes, “Whoever undermines through the proliferation of ideas and, all the more so, through deed, the holy idea that vitalizes the Israelite nation is a traitor to the nation, and to pardon him is folly” (Letters, 93).

When Eliezer Ben Yehuda, restorer of the modern Hebrew language, wrote an article claiming the Jewish people “have turned their backs on their past, and that is our praise and our glory,” Rav Kook wrote a long, scathing response:

“Let him dream to his heart’s content, but when he attests publicly that all of us are dangling limbs like him, and that we have all turned our backs on the past, which is the source of our lives, we are obliged to protest and make known that not our hearts, but his, issued these words that shame the dignity of Israel” (Letters, 18).

Some of his critics maintain that he was far too accepting of the secularists.

Generally, the people who voice this claim are not familiar with his life and writings. In protest to the widespread desecration of Torah in the country’s towns, cities, and kibbutzim, Rav Kook penned a passionate public appeal:

“Turn back, turn back, my children! Return to the spirit of our people, to the Torah of G-d, the Rock of Israel. Keep the Sabbath free of desecration and turn your hands from all evil.

“Can it be that we have no other occupation and calling in life in the Land of Israel than to pursue the worst customs of other nations so that we will be a derision to our enemies? Is being carried away by all kind of dances, constantly wasting money and time on motion pictures and the like what we lack these days?

“Must our women follow the most immodest fashions just to imitate the ways of a dying Europe and bring them brazenly into this ancient Holy Land, thus shaming the glory of its rebirth and majestic life? And our tables are becoming disgusting, carrion and forbidden foods are eaten in public without any feeling of shame.

“How can we be as one person, in a bond of brotherhood, if you destroy the most basic foundations which unite us, if you continue to ferment the stench of separatism, which festers fraternal hatred and despair?”

What can we learn from Rav Kook today when it comes to Ahavat Yisrael?

Rav Kook warned that the lack of brotherly love in the Jewish nation causes disunity, which weakens the spirit of nation, and jeopardizes our continued settlement of the land. The rifts we see today, whether between political parties, between the religious and the secular, or within the religious world itself, are obstacles that prevent us from working together in unison to pull the wagon of Israeli nationhood out of the darkness of division toward the light of redemption. This can only be rectified, Rav Kook taught, by an active and encompassing love.

He stated: “Since groundless hatred caused the destruction of the Second Temple, in order to bring about the Temple’s rebuilding, we have to increase unlimited love.” This love is not dependent on anything. It is like G-d’s unconditional love for Israel. This love exists regardless of any shortcomings in the beloved, or without any conditions that have to be met. Even with all of the deficiencies and imperfections in people, love must be total.

What was true in Rav Kook’s time is true for us today. We have to love our fellow Jews and bring them closer to the Torah. The joyous love we feel on Tu B’Av for all Jews helps bring us to this exalted level, to which we are called upon to cling throughout the year.

A Bold And Unapologetic Zionist: In Honor Of Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s 80th Yahrzeit

By Jewish Press Staff

Credit: Wikipedia

Ze'ev Jabotinsky in Army Uniform during WWI

Editor’s note: Sunday, August 3, marked 80 years since the great Revisionist Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940) passed away. He was a hero to people like Menachem Begin and Rabbi Meir Kahane and remains an inspiration to principled nationalist Zionist leaders to the present day.

No greater tribute can be paid to a man than perpetuating his teachings. In that spirit, we present below excerpts of his speeches and articles.

On Making Concessions

Do not tell me it is all the same whether verbally, or on paper, we give up Hebron, Nablus and Transjordan because this waiver is but a trivial hollow word and everybody will see it this way. Do not underestimate the power of waiver. How did this miracle happen 20 years ago, that the nations of the world acknowledged our right to the Land of Israel? At that time they had no idea that we have something concrete here. They knew only one thing: that for 2,000 years we did not waive our rights, and that was decisive.

(speech, 1937)

On Jewish Timidity

The future historian will be unable to comprehend the psychology of the Congress in Zurich…. [A] ship…is being tossed around in a storm and the only hope for the passengers are 25 life-boats. If they use those 25 life boats, possibly they may be saved and reach dry land. But the passengers get up and announce that they are willing to give up 24 of those life-boats on the condition that the 25th boat will be painted in blue and white with the inscription on its side: “The Jewish State.” This type of psychology defies comprehension!

(speech in Warsaw, 1938)

Being Nice Won’t Help

In the entire history of civilization there can be found no example where a people living in a country will agree to colonization by foreigners. Often, the local inhabitants even oppose simple immigration. But the difference between the concepts “immigration” and “colonization” is understood by all. Against colonization by an outside race, the local population always fights, everywhere and without exception.

There is no difference between “tactful” settlers and “tactless” settlers. Joshua was “tactless” and all the kings of Canaan rose up to fight him. The Quakers who sailed to America in the sixteenth century, full of tact, love and consideration towards all human beings, were attacked by all the Indian tribes of the plains stretching between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, who never asked themselves: perhaps there is enough room in the country for both races? Perhaps the new settlers will enrich the country and all its inhabitants?…

There is no difference in attitude towards the colonizer whether the local inhabitants are of a high cultural level or primitive. The Aztecs of Mexico, an enlightened race, and the Kaffirs of Africa, a primitive people – all fought the foreign settler.

(article, 1925)

On Jews as Colonizers

Now the next question is the reason of the quarrel between the Arab and the Jew. Sir, it is the fate of all colonization. The history of the world is a history of colonizations. Every civilized country, except perhaps Germany, is the result of some colonization in the past.

There has never been in the whole history of the world, which is a history of colonization, one example where the population on the spot “agreed” to their country being colonized. You Anglo-Saxons colonized half the world, but you never colonized with the consent of the people in countries of which you colonized; and the Anglo-Saxons themselves, with their Norman admixture, are the result of several colonizations, each time against the will of the population on the spot.

So how can we Jews colonize Eretz-Israel or Uganda or any other country without a consent of wills with the population on the spot? That is how all colonizations have been done – and, should that be a crime, then it follows that America is a crime, this country [England] is a crime, all Europe a crime, and our Bible history is the story of a crime, because it is the story of the colonization of a country against the will of the population that lived there.

Therefore the question is: Is the Jewish colonization necessary or not? Is it just or not? If it is necessary and just, than any local inhabitant who wants to obstruct something necessary and just must be at least prevented from using violence. That is the whole situation.

(speech before members of British Parliament, 1937)

Peace With the Arabs

All this does not mean that an understanding with the Palestinian Arabs is unthinkable. But a voluntary agreement is impossible. As long as the Arabs have even the slightest hope of getting rid of us, they will not sell these hopes…for sweet words of a good living because they are not rabble but a lively people.

(article, 1937)

On the “Benefits” of Restraint

The whole time, from the earliest beginnings of the Arab terror, the “official” Jews speculated on the calculation that the Arabs would compromise themselves terribly with their terror, that nobody would talk to them, that nobody would take any notice of their demands; and we Jews, on the other hand, would show what a good society we were, and we would therefore be recognized as the stable element in the country, and so on.

Need I still describe and illustrate what has been the result in the end of this pretty diplomacy at the expense of Jewish blood, how the Mufti nominates whom he wants as delegates and rejects whomever he does not want, how they “talk” to the Arabs at the same time as both Jews and Englishman are being murdered daily in Palestine – and what great “profits” the Jews have drawn from their “stable” attitude?

The inexorable summing-up stares us in the face: Whoever is not afraid of biting with all his 32 teeth is accepted as a partner; and whoever permits himself to be murdered and does not know how to revenge himself is given praise by Mr. Chamberlain – and loses his rights to immigration; for nobody wants a “hands-upper” as a partner.

(article, 1939)

On Morality During War

When it is a question of war, you do not stand and ask questions as to what is “better,” whether to shoot or not to shoot.

The only question it is permissible to ask in such circumstances is, on the contrary: What is “worse” – to let yourself be killed or to undertake resistance with all its horrible consequences? For there is no “better” at all. Everything connected with war is bad, and cannot be “good.”

When you shoot at enemy soldiers, do not lie to yourself and persuade yourself that you are shooting at “guilty” ones. I remember them well, the “guilty” ones on the Palestine front in 1918. Turkish peasants, ordinary, decent boys, whose every father could be proud – not one of whom had any grudge either against Britain or against our Legion, not one of whom wanted war, all of whom wanted only one thing: home… every time one of them was shot it was as big a crime against God and Man as when one of our boys was shot; perhaps worse, for in our Legion there were at least volunteers.

If you start calculating what is “better,” the calculations is very simple: If you want to be good, let yourself be killed – and renounce everything you would like to defend: home, country, freedom, hope.

The Latin proverb says, of two evils choose the lesser. When we are in a position where – through no fault of ours – physical force dominates, only one question can be asked: What is worse? To continue with havlaga, continue watching Jews being killed and how the conviction grows among the Arabs that our lives are cheap, and among the British and the whole world that we are spineless hands-uppers not worthy of being considered as allies at a time of danger?

(article, 1939)

On the Influence of Language

I said that the Jewish generation of our day also revolted against all that was held sacred by our fathers. Many of my generation grew up in an assimilated society. They were taught by their parents to think of themselves as Russians; and their teachers taught them to prefer “our Pushkin,” “our literature,” and “our language’ – the Russian.

Afterwards, when they matured, the crisis came and then they understood the truth. With great difficulty and a merciless inner struggle, they were able to uproot that foreign element and reject all that was held sacred by their parents and teachers. There are even some today who hate the foreign culture that they had so admired during childhood.

They hate it because it distorted their soul; and in this way cast aside their moral attachment to the foreign nation. Their former love turned to indifference or enmity.

But take a good look. My generation, which was educated in the Russian language and became Jewish nationalists, is bound by iron shackles. They are subjected by chains to the foreign culture. All their thinking is fed by Russian currents and they must draw, even now, from its depths. For their reading pleasure their hand will reach out, even against their will, to the book-shelf for the foreign language literature and come under the influence if its currents, trends and tendencies.

Emotion will be uprooted, views will change, love may turn to hatred, convictions and ethics may pass on – but the language absorbed from my teachers is irrevocable; it is in their veins.

In this regard, one cannot escape an addiction for which there is no remedy – we must bind our children to the Jewish people, teach and “intoxicate” their souls. In national education, language is paramount and the content, its outer shell. By this, I do not in any way deny the value of the content – of Hebrew spirit and Hebrew science. On the contrary, they are more essential. Without them, of course, the national education would be a faulty one.

But the connection, that unbreakable connection which withstands all trials and passage of time, the link between the individual and the nation, is the language in which he has been used to think and feel his emotions.

The Critical Role Of The Panama Canal Scandal In The Dreyfus Affair

By Saul Jay Singer

Perhaps the greatest propagator of anti-Semitism in France under the Third Republic, Edouard Drumont (1844-1917) was the founder and editor of the sensationalist newspaper La Libre Parole (“Free Speech”), which became the authoritative voice of French anti-Semitism, the Third Republic, and anti-Dreyfus France.

In 1886, six years before publishing La Libre Parole, Drumont had published an anti-Semitic book, La France Juive (“Jewish France”), whose proceeds he used to finance La Libre Parole. In this book – his magnum opus, which provided a unified synthesis of anti-Semitic history – he developed three elements of anti-Semitism: racial, opposing interaction between non-Jewish “Aryans” and Jewish “Semites”; financial, arguing that capitalism was under Jewish control; and religious, discussing the alleged Jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus.

A Voltairean who later became a devout Catholic, he was uniquely able to draw on both Church tradition and the secular Enlightenment to expound on the “Jewish plot” that allegedly dominated France.

La France Juive became one of the greatest commercial successes of the 19th century, selling over 100,000 copies in its first year, an almost unimaginable triumph at the time and evidencing Drumont’s keen understanding of the tenor of his era. Other similar works followed, such as Le Testament d’un Antisémite (1891). Drumont attracted many supporters, and he was one of the primary sources of anti-Semitic ideas that would later be embraced by Nazism.

However, his fame and the popularity of La Libre Parole, his ubiquitous anti-Semitic rag, did not take off until he exploited the Panama Canal Scandal; made it a matter of prime national interest; and, of course, blamed it on the Jews. Many people believe that it was the Dreyfus Affair that drove Drumont’s fame but, in fact, it was the bribery fiasco in Panama – considered the largest fiscal corruption scandal of the 19th century – that brought him international renown and made La Libre Parole so prominent.

The story begins with Ferdinand De Lesseps (1805-94), the French developer of the Suez Canal, which successfully joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas (1869); substantially reduced sailing distances and times between East and West; and effectively facilitated worldwide commerce to an unprecedented extent. He attempted to repeat this grand success with an effort to build a lockless Panama Canal during the 1880s, but that proved to be a monumental failure.

Ironically, the Colombian government, which owned the relevant territory designated for construction of the canal, had originally given the concession to construct a canal across the isthmus to Augustin Solomon (1838), a Frenchman whom it apparently did not know was Jewish. When this disqualifying fact came to light, Solomon was removed from the project because, as a French official explained, the “keys of the world are here, but the name of Senor Solomon does not seem to be sufficiently Christian to qualify him for the role of guardian of Saint Peter’s.”

1880 Panama Canal bond certificate signed by de Lesseps.

Because of his success with the Suez Canal, de Lesseps – who did not have Solomon’s “problem” of being Jewish – had attained deity-like status in French society. He founded Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interoceanique de Panama (“Universal Company of the Panama Oceanic Canal,” or the “Panama Company”) to construct a lockless canal across Panama and, awarded the commission, he and the Panama Company commenced work in February 1881. Ironically, nobody paid attention to the fact that the true cost of the Suez Canal had been double de Lesseps’ estimate and that he actually knew little about finance and economics.

Over the course of eight years, little progress was made on the monumental project, which was beset by massive financial problems from the outset and was plagued by engineering difficulties, a high death rate among the workers, and phenomenal health care expenses due to malaria.

Nonetheless, hundreds of thousands of ordinary French citizens, typically fiscally conservative, eagerly invested in the project because public loans to it were backed by the French government; investing in the project was broadly regarded as a patriotic public service rather than as a private enterprise; and the project, led by de Lesseps, was considered a “sure thing.”

When the Panama Company went bankrupt, it caused the loss of 1.8 billion gold francs and 800,000 French citizens lost their investment. Drumont exposed rampant corruption in the Company’s operation, including the bribing of French deputies (who used the money to pad their election accounts) to approve knowingly unsound government loans and to actively suppress public information regarding the financial troubles of the Company.

The public, furious that the very source of their confidence in its investment – the government’s backing of the loans – turned out to be a crucial factor in the Panama Canal Scandal, was eager for a scapegoat. Drumont came along and gave them one: the Jews. Characterizing the Canal Affair as “a Jewish conspiracy,” he wildly – and effectively – exaggerated the role of several Jews in the scandal.

Quotation signed by Ferdinand de Lesseps.

In this signed autographed quotation, de Lesseps writes in Latin, undoubtedly with respect to the successful design and building of the Suez Canal and his failed attempt to build the Panama Canal: “Open up the land to the people (1892).”

That year, French nationalists accused a large number of ministers, including Georges Clemenceau, leader of the left in the Chamber of Deputies and later twice prime minister, of taking bribes from de Lesseps, leading to a corruption investigation against the Panama Canal Company and a corruption trial against de Lesseps and his son. (Interestingly, Drumont later fought an 1898 duel against Clemenceau over the Dreyfus Affair, but all six shots missed.) Over 500 Parliament members, including six ministers, were accused of taking Company bribes in exchange for withholding Company financial information from the public.

De Lesseps, other members of his management team, and various entrepreneurs – including Gustave Eiffel, famous for his tower (completed in 1889) – were sentenced on February 9, 1893 to significant jail terms. However, these sentences were later annulled on appeal because, as the court ruled, the statute of limitations had expired, and all but one of the accused (who had foolishly confessed) went unpunished.

Pressure for the Panama Canal debacle was eventually taken off the French government due in no small part to the involvement in the scandal of two German Jews, Jacques Reinach and Cornelius Herz, who were the subjects of most of Drumont’s coverage of the scandal. Baron Reinach, one of the most prestigious and influential bankers of the 19th century, was involved in many of the largest and most important financial enterprises of the time. Herz migrated from France to America, where he became a citizen and made a fortune as an international con man selling electrical health “cures” before returning to France.

Reinach, who served as the government’s secret financial advisor and was its middleman with the Panama Company, distributed bribe money to right-wing French. Herz was responsible for paying off the leftists and anti-clerical radicals to whom Reinach had no access.

Herz commenced blackmailing Reinach, threatening to expose his treason. The precise basis for the blackmailing threat has not been definitively established, though the leading theory appears to be that Herz discovered that Reinach had sold state secrets to Italy or Britain and threatened to publicly disclose his betrayal. The threat drove Reinach to commit suicide a day before he was to appear in court, and Herz fled to England where, feigning illness so as to prevent his extradition, he remained for the rest of his life.

However, before killing himself, Reinach, in exchange for La Libre Parole agreeing to cover up his role in the Panama Affair, gave Drumont a list of Parliament members and other government officials who had taken bribes. In a brilliant tactic, Drumont decided against publishing a master list of all the criminals involved in the affair; instead, he slowly trickled out additional names of the offenders each day, thereby keeping the Panama Affair before the public, increasing long-term sales of La Libre Parole to a public eager to read about each day’s newly disclosed perpetrators, and destroying the lives of many politicians forced to wait for the hatchet to fall when their names were published.

Virtually overnight, the story transformed Drumont’s anti-Semitic daily from a small and insignificant rag sheet into the essential voice of the Third Republic, making it perhaps the most influential and popular paper in France. Drumont insisted that the scandal showed that the intermediaries between business and the government were almost exclusively Jews and that, already in control of the business world, they were plotting to take control of French politics through bribery and other crimes. As a result, anti-Semitic attacks were frequently made against Jewish participation on the stock exchanges.

Ironically, Reinach and Herz had acted only as middlemen and no Jew had profited from the Panama Canal Scandal. However, the terms “banker” and “Jew” had long been synonymous in the public mind, and Drumont’s anti-Semitic reporting only added fuel to that fire.

In her classic work, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), Hannah Arendt, better known for her seminal Eichmann in Jerusalem, persuasively argues that the Dreyfus Affair was merely a second act with its origins deeply rooted in the Panama Canal Scandal, which was a key development in the evolution of French anti-Semitism and played a crucial role in the events leading to the Dreyfus Affair.

Later, when the French army purposely leaked the news of Dreyfus’ arrest to Drumont, he pounced on the opportunity to prove his central theory of Jewish perfidy: that the Jews, who were responsible for France’s 19th century military losses and for the Panama Canal Scandal, were now engaging in further high treason within the French military.

He used his newspaper, which regularly reached over 500,000 readers, to portray Dreyfus as the symbol of Jewish treachery and disloyalty and, on November 2, 1894, he ran a front-page story about the arrest of Dreyfus whom, he alleged, had confessed passing state secrets to the Germans. The day following Dreyfus’ first conviction, the headline in La Libre Parole proclaimed “Out of France, Jews! France for the French!”

3 unusual postcards: Drumont as a grotesque animal.
Drumont cooking an emaciated, chicken-like Dreyfus on a spit.

Incredibly, Herzl – who came to the Zionist idea while witnessing Dreyfus’ degradation – greatly admired Drumont, lobbied him to review his seminal work, The Jewish State (1896), in La Libre Parole, and was thrilled by Drumont’s January 15, 1897 article on it. This seeming incongruity may be understood by considering the underlying character of Herzl’s Jewish nationalist Zionism, which stood in stark opposition to the assimilationism of most European Jews.

Herzl, who shared with French anti-Semites a mutual disdain for the French Revolution, which had granted political equality to the Jews, believed that the Jews were not merely a religious group but, rather, a nation waiting to be reborn whose destiny could only be fulfilled in a sovereign Jewish state.

Thus, Herzl believed that the “anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends and the anti-Semitic countries our allies.” His deputy, Max Nordau, observed that Zionism “is not a question of religion, but exclusively of race, and there is no one with whom I am in greater agreement on this position than M. Drumont.”

The postcard exhibited here, an extreme rarity, contains a message in French dated June 5, 1909, written and signed by Drumont. The front of the card contains a portrait of the infamous anti-Dreyfusard in the middle of a page of La Libre Parole with the headline: “The Traitor (i.e., Dreyfus) is Condemned.” A manifestly egocentric and delusional Drumont writes:

I have been organized/prepared for struggle. I have a joyful personality, a certain artistic talent, and I am an independent and amused observer of people, which makes me find entertainment in all things in life and in the development and contradictions of all human beings. I have struggled, but I have also had the most brilliant successes. Therefore, I really do not have to complain about my life’s destiny.

Drumont’s downfall began when he made the Rothschilds and their banking family a frequent target of his anti-Semitic diatribes. He was sued by the vice president of the Chamber of Deputies for libelously alleging that the latter had taken a bribe from Edouard Alphonse de Rothschild to enact particular legislation favored by Rothschild (the trial was covered by a journalist named Theodore Herzl).

Unable to provide any evidence to support his allegations, Drumont was incarcerated for three months, fined, and ordered to publish a retraction. Thereafter, his fortunes declined, and he died in penury.

In a fascinating and despicable May 22, 1897 correspondence exhibited here, Drumont writes from Paris, trying to justify his anti-Semitism by characterizing it in patriotic terms:

Letter from Edouard Drumont.

What would you like me to write in the album? One date: May 22, 1897…when this album will be studied in a few years, public opinion will undoubtedly change as the result of the work of my colleagues and myself. They will know then, too late I am afraid, that we acted out of affection for our country. We tried to protect our forefathers’ faith, in the land of our forefathers, the purity of the racial line of our forefathers against the Semites [i.e., the Jews] – the invaders and greedy money-chasing people who sought only to harm an innocent and too confident nation that accepted as brothers its merciless enemies.

In 1870, Adolphe Cremieux, then Justice Minister following the collapse of the Second Empire, passed a law conferring French citizenship upon Algerian Jews. Drumont was elected deputy from Algiers in May 1898, in which capacity he tried, but failed, to repeal Cremieux’s law. Drumont failed to obtain a seat in the Academie Francaise (1909) and, at the time of his death in February 1917, he had been largely forgotten.

See you tomorrow bli neder

We need Mosiach now

Love Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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