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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 31, 2008 / 24 Adar II 5768

When Zola wrote ‘J'accuse!’

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is the most famous front page in the history of journalism. Its one-word headline - "J'accuse!" - is if anything even more renowned. On Jan. 13, 1898, the French newspaper L'Aurore published Emile Zola's extraordinary 4,000-word open letter on the Dreyfus Affair, a travesty of justice in which an innocent captain in the French army, Alfred Dreyfus, had been convicted of treason and sentenced to solitary confinement for life on Devil's Island, a hellish penal colony off the coast of South America.


Zola was then the most popular writer in France, and his impassioned essay defending Dreyfus and accusing the military court and the French government of a massive cover-up electrified the nation and reverberated around the world.


Zola's Page 1 article - part investigative reportage, part impassioned advocacy - is on display at Boston University's 808 Gallery. It is one of scores of documents, cartoons, and artifacts that make up "The Power of Prejudice: The Dreyfus Affair," an exhibition sponsored by the BU Hillel House and Boston's New Center for Arts and Culture. The Dreyfus saga was the first legal ordeal to trigger a media feeding frenzy, and to view "J'accuse!" more than a century after it appeared is to confront the birth of something the modern world takes for granted - the power of the press to galvanize and shape public opinion.


The Dreyfus case began with the discovery of a letter offering to sell French military secrets to the Germans. After an inept investigation, the military intelligence chief, an outspoken anti-Semite, fingered Dreyfus, the only Jew on the army's General Staff. In truth, Dreyfus was an ardent French patriot, whose boyhood ambition had been to serve his country in uniform. A secret court martial convicted Dreyfus on the basis of a falsified dossier, and in a humiliating public "degradation" at the Ecole Militaire, he was stripped of his decorations and his sword was broken. As Dreyfus loudly protested his innocence, the historian Paul Johnson writes, "an immense and excited crowd ... was beginning to scream, 'Death to Dreyfus! Death to the Jews.'"


Within months a new intelligence chief had identified the real villain, Major Ferdinand Walsin-Esterhazy. Supporters of Dreyfus - the Dreyfusards - demanded that the case be reopened, but high-ranking officers, determined to shield the army from embarrassment, conspired to protect the traitor. In a sham court-martial, Esterhazy was acquitted. It was in response to that second travesty that Zola wrote "J'accuse!"


All this was played out against a wave of anti-Semitic hysteria, much of it fueled by the press. Among the most chilling items in the BU exhibition are posters, headlines, and caricatures depicting Jews as snakes, vermin, and hook-nosed swindlers, a filthy race from which France must be cleansed. One giant poster urges voters to support Adolphe Willette, unabashedly campaigning for municipal office as the "Candidat Antisemite." The Dreyfus Affair set off the first great wave of modern political anti-Semitism, a forerunner of the Nazi terror that would devour Europe a few decades later.


Zola's article mobilized the Dreyfusards, who included many of the era's leading writers, artists, and academics. This too was the birth of something the modern world takes for granted: an intellectual class actively engaged in a war over national culture and values. To the supporters of Dreyfus, the stakes were those of French democracy and justice: individual rights, due process, equality under the law. The anti-Dreyfusards feared the loss of social stability, clerical influence, and French tradition.


The battle raged for a dozen years, cleaving French society, and irrevocably changing the 20th century. Dreyfus was eventually freed and exonerated, reinstated as an officer and publicly decorated with the Legion of Honor. His patriotism undimmed, he saw active duty in World War I, then lived quietly in retirement until his death in 1935.


The effects of the Dreyfus Affair lived on long after Dreyfus was laid to rest. The anti-Semitism it roused was institutionalized, the anti-Dreyfusards in time becoming the pro-fascist core of the Vichy regime. The Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl, stunned by what he saw during Dreyfus's "degradation," went on to write "The Jewish State," the book that launched modern Zionism.


But of all that the Dreyfus Affair set in motion, it is the ascendancy of the press that has, for good and ill, most shaped modern life. "J'accuse!" Zola wrote, and a new age was born.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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