Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Dreyfus syndrome

How are we to understand the indictment by the US Justice Dept. of 84 year old Ben-Ami Kadish for spying 23 years after the event? This is another example of the "Dreyfus syndrome."
What was the motivation for the original notorious Dreyfus case in France in 1894? It was that the French Army had been handily defeated by the Prussians, and they had to find a scapegoat to explain away their defeat. Major Esterhazy, a French officer of Hungarian origin, provided the forged document implicating Dreyfus, a Jewish officer from German-speaking Alsace, of spying for the Germans, the perfect scapegoat.
During the Communist era, there were several trials of Jewish scapegoats, including the famous Slansky trial in Czechoslovakia in 1952.
Similarly with Pollard, he was undoubtedly spying for Israel, he confessed to it, but he represented that perfect icon, the Jew with divided loyalty, at a time in 1985 when the US wanted to put pressure on Israel when Caspar Weinberger, that undoubted enemy of Israel, was US Secretary of Defense. Similarly today, as Pres. Bush is pushing for a potential agreement between Israel and the PA, his political enemies in the State Dept. and the Justice Dept., undoubtedly liberals who would like to see Bush's whole political legacy in tatters, are using this case to undermine the Israel-US relationship (how else can one explain it?).
In the wake of the Pollard revelations, the Govt. of Israel at the time publicly promised never to spy against the US again. But, I never heard the US reciprocate. It is widely believed that the US spies on Israel and until they publicly announce that they do not, I for one will continue to believe that they do (and would even if they publicly announced it). In fact, all nations spy on each other, including allies (don't the US and UK spy on each other?) So the Kadish case is another in a long line of cases in which Jews are used as political scapegoats.
When Pollard was arrested I wrote a letter to the Jewish Week in Washington DC entitled "Trivided loyalty," in which I pointed out that as a US citizen of British origin, if the UK were under threat of attack, for example before WWII, I hope that I would help my home country as many Anglophiles did, and that would be understood by all Americans. Similarly as a Jew, since Israel is under constant attack and is an ally of the US, I hoped that if I had information that would save Israeli lives that I knew was being withheld from Israel, I hoped that I too would transfer it to them. Some people said that I was "brave" to write this letter, since most American Jews went into a defensive couch and even refused to discuss it. However, there is hardly an American that doesn't have a loyalty to another country outside the US, including Irish Americans, Italian Americans, even Black Americans (would Barack Obama help Kenya?). So the issue of divided loyalty is outdated in this age of multiculturalism, and we should not be reticent in rejecting it, even if Kadish did spy for Israel.


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