Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hypocrisy


More than 2 decades ago, someone close to me did something that I viewed as a betrayal. That action left an indelible mark that has yet to heal. Actually, being honest, I don't think it ever will and I'm not sure I want it to. It has become a companion to me, a force on its own.

I have no stomach for dishonesty, unethical behavior, and hypocrisy. A man didn't like something I wrote about the industry in which he worked - and decided to demand that I resign from the Board of the synagogue. There was no connection - just a disgusting power play on his part and the hypocrisy of the Board that feared his power. Did I mention I hate silence in the face of injustice as well?

Two former employees went off to form their own company - in part by breaking agreements and taking at least one of my clients and in part by deleting 80-90 GB of client files on my computers. Did I mention that I hate dishonesty and unethical behavior?

We are, ultimately, a product of our experiences in life and I carry these with me - struggling not to let the anger win. Usually, it doesn't. The synagogue where I once went has lost many valuable people - all those who see what has been done and refuse to be a part of it. That isn't what worship is about. One of those employees developed some serious illnesses and has been living with pain almost from the time she left my employ.

And on it goes. In my personal life and in my "public" life here, I do not stomach hypocrisy. This morning, there was a quote from someone who called him/herself "Norway" - and I choked on the anger as I responded. Norway is the farthest thing from the caring, egalitarian society it wants you to believe it is. Sure, they sent some money to Haiti - better than most countries - but it was OUR team that got there and saved lives, OUR doctors, OUR rescue workers who risked their lives.

For the earthquake in Turkey, the tsunami in the Far East - it was our PEOPLE while it was your MONEY, Norway. And while this person dares to question Israel - once again throwing around the much abused and inaccurate term "apartheid" - it is simple to prove Norway wrong. We have sent the children of immigrants to Eurovision (as if that is some intelligent way to measure the worth of a country, for God's sake???) - from Yemen, Morocco, the United States. From Russia, Spain, and Libya and Tunisia. On and on, the list of the countries from which our contestants have come is so long and Norway dares to take pride because ONE of their contestants came from Morocco?

Norway - a heck of a place. As far back as in the year 1000, the Norwegian king, Olav den Hellige, forbade everyone who was not Christian to live in Norway. In 1814, Norway acquired its first constitution. This document stated that the official state religion was Lutheran Protestantism and that Jews and Jesuits were forbidden from entering the kingdom. It took them over 50 years to manage to get that clause out and another 40+ before Jews actually established a community.


In 1940, the Germans occupied Norway. Norwegian newspapers and media were full of anti-Semitic propaganda and the Norwegian government was taken over by Nazis. In 1942, 750 Jews were deported to Auschwitz (of a population of approximately 2,000 Jews). Of these, only 25 survived. The rest of Norway's Jews managed to escape to Sweden, where they lived as refugees until the end of the war. Norway remains a bastion of anti-Semitism and worst of all, it does so with a pride and arrogance that devastates anyone willing to hope for anything better. Hypocrites, I want to cry out. 

And then there is Syria - daily, people are dying there, being murdered by their government - but the UN takes the time to warn Israel, to express its concern - while Assad is butchering his own people in the lovely tradition of his father.

And while I'm in complaining mode - did you notice that the new Flame virus that has hit Iran's computer systems is getting more attention than Iran's threat to wipe Israel off the face of the earth? Have you noticed that the UN issued a warning against the virus - within a day of its being announced...and yet still has not done much to stop Iran's mad dash for nukes?

And on and on...I'm trying to find my balance today, trying to stop the outside from reaching so deeply into the inside. The owner of my office building FINALLY cleaned the windows - after our requesting this for more than 3 years (the windows don't open or we would have done it ourselves) - and so my office now has beautiful views again - the colors are just so amazing. The sun is so bright; the tree below my window so green. The building across the street is golden; the field beyond it full of swaying growth.

I'm trying to remember that hypocrisy has always existed and always will and nothing they say or do can change who I am, where I choose to live my life. Things won't really change - with the next natural disaster, Israel will send people to help and Norway will continue to sit back and preach about how good their society is...unless, of course, you happen to be a Jew in Norway. But as there are only about 1,200 Jews living in Norway as of 2010 (0.05% of the population), I guess we Jews are pretty smart after all.

9 comments:

Batya said...

Paula, I really can relate to what you wrote. There are things I just can't forget or forgive. Being straight and honest were the mitzvot my parents raised us with. Mehadrin in business and derech eretz should be everyone's priority.

AliasJoe said...

Norway puzzles me. I've never been there, nor do I plan to visit. I admit that as a non-Jew, non-Israeli, and a non-Norwegian, I find their anti-Semitic view problematic. It seems they have not mitigated any of their cultural bias from the 1930's (actually much earlier, but I'm drawing a distinction about Nazism here).

That raises the question -- why are Norwegians (as a state) so anti-Semitic? Is it ignorance of the Jews and their contributions to the world? Is there some historical connection to the Prophet Mohammed which might explain this hatred of Israel? Do they still subscribe to Hitler's Aryan Race theory and count themselves into the Master Race?

I just can't imagine a whole nation possessed by evil feelings towards another ethnicity -- not in the 21st century.... I mean, Americans (as a whole) don't see blacks as inferior anymore. They don't think of blacks or Chinese as chattel anymore. Why do Norwegians fall prey to this sort of asinine prejudice? What am I missing? The relative isolation of their country, perhaps? Am I missing something culturally, or is Norway just the devil's playground?

Anonymous said...

When I said that Israel as an apartheid country did I also say that Norway is a perfect country with no problems?

Don´t you think its possible to observe problems in your own country AND in other countries?

You defend Israel´s crimes and problems by pointing out other countries problems. Uhm... ?!

If Norway has something to be ashamed of today it is the islamophobia that is rising and that created a monster named Anders Behring Breivik.

Of course antisemitism is awful and shameful, in any country. Racism and hatred among the people of the earth exists all over the world and has to be stopped.

But the bad sides of Norway doesnt make Israel a good country!

It is interesting how you really trash Norway when someone with the alias "Norway" criticize your beloved Israel.


BY THE WAY,

Im not norwegian, Im from a country in the south. Won´t tell you what country because thats not what we are discussing here. There are many problems in my country, its not perfect. No country is.

So to respond to this you might have to dig up all bad things you ever can find on the rest of the world in your pathetic attempt to defend israeli war crimes.

No country is perfect, especially not Israel.

Please, be brave enough to publish this AND your answers.


/Norway

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD!

I´m sorry norwegians, I signed my comment with "Norway" and now Norway is "the devil's playground"!

HAHAHAHAHAH!

Sorry Norway... but maybe this says a lot about how desperate Israelis and their supporters are.

No, I understand Paula, you wont publish this as it makes you look stupid. As long as you read it Im happy.

/Norway

Yehoshua Paul said...

Paula,
What separates us from Virginian Hillbillies is that we tend to move on from ancient grudges - this is how bloodfeuds are created.
I judge Norway and Europe for its current antisemitism, not its past. The past can't be fixed, but there is still hope for the present and the future. However, that is unlikely to change if we remain fixated on the actions of dead generations.
I don't forget the past, I learn from it, but I don't bring it up in every conversation because it has no bearing on the future. The only reason to bring up the past is to illicit a strong emotional response, which in my opinion has no practical application.
Also, pointing out to someone and saying you are behaving like an antisemite is a lot more relevant than saying your grandparents were antisemites so you should shut up.

A Soldier's Mother said...

Yehoshua - I think there is a difference between "moving on" and forgetting. It isn't like Norway has moved away from its anti-Semitic track record - google "Norway anti-semitic" and you'll come up with over 3 million hits; Wikipedia has at least two separate pages dedicated to it. I don't see by any means how this is in the past. If you followed this thread, you'll see this post was prompted by a comment made under the name Norway, thus the little tour down history lane. My final comment is a simple quote - those who forget the past are condemned to relive it. There might be a reason to forget, if Norway didn't continue its proud adherence to all things related to hating Israel (and Jews).

A Soldier's Mother said...

By the way /Norway - you never responded to the point. You said when Israel sends a certain type of person (Moroccan descent) to Eurovision...and I responded with a long list of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. So, your original comment has been proven wrong...as easily as the rest. I don't mind publishing most comments - inaccurate or obnoxious though they be. Daring me or calling me stupid won't change my position on publishing it or not. In this case, I publish it because anyone willing to use Google can easily and quickly prove your statements false.

Yehoshua Paul said...

Paula,
I never said we should forget. I said we should move on. When Norway posted his comments, you brought up Norway's past instead of focusing on the very relevant present. What happended in 1940 is not relevant to 2012. What is happening in 2012 is what is relevant for 2012.
You are holding modern day Norwegians responsible for their ancestors when you can instead choose to hold them responsible for their own actions.
When reading your article, I can reach two conclusions - a. the Norwegians have a horrible past. and b. The Norwegians must be fine because they have not done anything bad since 1940. If you want to prove Norwegian hypocrisy, bring examples of how today Norway is anti-semitic instead of dredging up ancient history.
My two cents.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAH! Where are the links I sent you about the racism in Israel against african immigrants?

Not so brave after all.

Lets pretend it doesn´t exist.

Haha my gd. SHAME ON ISRAEL!

/Norway

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