I am one of them

Posted by sepoy on June 09, 2010 · 1 min read

Jacqueline Rose. "'J'accuse': Dreyfus in Our Times" London Review of Books, Vol. 32 No. 11 · 10 June 2010.

And yet, what is crucial about Lazare — and the reason he brings my journey to its end — is that he demonstrates so clearly that to fight for justice as a Jew, against a pseudo-universalism in which any sense of being a Jew is lost, requires no restriction — indeed quite the opposite — either of your ethical or your political vision. He had nothing but contempt for those who, declaring their concern for all humanity, turn aside from individual misery. But his greatest anger — his word was 'horror' — was reserved for those who 'confer only on their own unhappiness, or on the unhappiness that befalls one of their family, tribe, party or sect, the status of a universal calamity'. For Lazare, there could be no exclusivity — not of family, party, sect or tribe. 'I have spoken out for one man's salvation; so that freedom will be restored to an imprisoned man, but so as to safeguard the freedom of each and every citizen.' It was therefore possible — indeed this is Lazare's wager — to fight as a Jew for all mankind.

I cannot quite remember the last time I admired, frankly admired, an essay more, or one that moved me more, or demonstrated more sharply the moral stakes in scholarship, in life. Thank you, Jacqueline Rose.