How the Dreyfus Affair Gave Rise to the Tour de France

France in the 1890s saw both a bicycling craze and the Dreyfus Affair, in which the Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus was framed for passing military secrets to Germany, sparking an intense controversy. In 1899, a few years after Dreyfus’s conviction, Emil Loubert, known to sympathize with him, became president of France. Nick Gendler writes:

On June 3, 1899, the French supreme court overturned the original court-martial judgment against Dreyfus and ordered a retrial. Tensions were high when, the following day, Loubert accepted an invitation to watch horse-racing at the Auteuil Race Course. Unlike the Longchamp racecourse which was frequented by the lower classes, . . . Auteuil was the playground of the wealthy, monarchist, anti-Republican, and mainly anti-Dreyfusard classes. Loubert’s presence was seen as provocative and he was confronted by hordes outraged by the order for a retrial. The demonstration turned violent almost as soon as the president took his seat. Among those who were arrested following the fracas was the wealthy industrialist Jules Albert Compte de Dion. . . .

Pierre Gifford, the editor of the [sports] newspaper Le Vélo [“The Bicycle”], criticized the demonstration. . . . Politically, Gifford was on the left and wrote scathing articles criticizing Dion and other anti-Dreyfusards, despite many of them being important advertisers in his newspaper. Gifford’s reporting of the demonstration incensed Dion and other industrialists such as Eduard Michelin, a vigorous anti-Semite, and Gustave Clement. . . .

Dion and his allies decided to withdraw their advertising and to launch their own rival paper, L’Auto-Vélo. . . . In November 1902, as the newspaper, [now simply called] L’Auto, struggled with circulation at consistently around a quarter of that of Le Vélo, . . . a young reporter by the name of Geo Lefevre, allegedly desperate to suggest something, spontaneously floated the idea of the Tour de France as a promotional enterprise.

Read more at The Librarians

More about: Alfred Dreyfus, Anti-Semitism, France, French Jewry, History & Ideas, Sports

Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security