French author; born at Nîmes June 14, 1865; died at Paris Sept. 1, 1903; educated in his native town and in Paris, where he settled, becoming critic and collaborator on "La Nation," "L'Evénement," "L'Echo de Paris," "Le Journal," "Figaro," etc. Although without any religious convictions he avowed himself a Jew, and was always ready to defend his brethren. It was therefore only natural that the family of Captain Dreyfus, believing their kinsman innocent, should appeal to Lazare, who, himself convinced of the innocence of the accused officer and of the existence of a conspiracy among his accusers, took up his defense and wrote "Une Erreur Judiciaire: La Vérité sur I'Affaire Dreyfus" (Paris, 1896) and "Comment On Condamne un Innocent" (ib. 1897), which books paved the way for the revision of the Dreyfus case. Lazare interested himself deeply in the Jewish problem, even visiting Russia and Rumania to observe personally the conditions prevalent among the Jews. He became an ardent supporter of the Zionist movement, and was a prominent figure in the Zionist congress of 1898, but he soon dissociated himself from the movement on account of disagreement in the management of the Jewish Colonial Trust.
Lazare was the author of: "La Fiancée de Corinthe," Paris, 1889; "Le Miroir des Légendes," ib. 1891; "L'Antisémitisme, Son Histoire et Ses Causes," Paris, 1892 (English transl. 1903); "Les Porteurs des Torche," 1897. Lazare's most widely known book is "L'Antisémitisme," parts of which had already appeared as articles and essays. The author says in the introduction, "I have been charged by some with being an anti-Semite, by others with having defended the Jews too strongly. . . . This is wrong, for I am neither an anti-Semite nor a philo-Semite; I intend to write neither an apology nor a diatribe, but an impartial study of the history and sociology of the Jews." The book gives the history of the facts that have tended to develop anti-Semitism, and recounts the treatment the Jews received in ancient times (ch. ii.), from the foundation of the Christian Church to Constantine (ch. iii.), from Constantine to the eighth century (ch. iv.), from the eighth century to the Reformation (ch. v.), from the Reformation to the French Revolution (ch. vi.). Ch. vii. discusses ancient and medieval anti-Semitic literature, the modern phenomena and literature of anti-Semitism being discussed in ch. viii. and ix. Ch. x. is given to a discussion of the Jews as a race. Ch. xi. compares them with other races represented in Europe. "But can the Jews be regarded as a race? The anti-Semites accuse them of cosmopolitanism, and from this deduce their revolutionary tendencies, not only politically but socially" (ch. xii., xiii., xiv.).
The last chapter forecasts the future of anti-Semitism. The principal agent in the disappearance of anti-Semitism will be the gradual assimilation of the Jews by surrounding stocks, a process now observable in the United States. Anti-Semitism excites the middle class, the proletariat, and sometimes the farmer, against the rich Jew; and while it leads these classes to socialism, it prepares them for anarchism, teaches them to hate not the Jewish capitalist only, but all capitalists. Anti-Semitism thus carries within itself the agent of its own destruction. It leads man to socialism, to equality, to fraternity, and destroys the barriers between the classes, between nations and religions.