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Joyce’s Ulysses

I am concerned that so much of this blog has recently been about Jews. This was never an issue for me until I was assigned to the American Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, during the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. It was all-Holocaust all the time. It was totally in your face. It appeared that the Holocaust was the most important thing that happened in World War II.

Of course, actually the most important thing was that the Allies defeated Hitler. If they hadn’t, where would the Jews be? It was particularly grating because my father fought in Europe during World War II. Shouldn’t he get some recognition for that? Now with the Jewish spin, there is mostly criticism that the Allies were too slow liberating the Nazi death camps. But they did liberate them. Couldn’t the Jews at least say “Thanks”?

I just started reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, which probably means I have too much time on my hands, but I found the following in the opening pages:

“Of course I’m a Britisher, Haine’s voice said, and I feel as one. I don’t want to see my country fall into the hands of German jews either. That’s our national problem, I’m afraid, just now.”

This comes after considerable discussion running down the Roman Catholic church.

I don’t know much about Ulysses, except that it’s supposed to be a classic. I suppose even classics might contain anti-Semitism. But it might be that Jews are not entirely guiltless in this matter. Israel is a small country, but it is responsible for an enormous amount of the animosity in the world.

In general, Anglos are somewhat reserved and perhaps cold. Jews are not. I remember a description in the Wall Street Journal years ago of the different personalities of former Citibank chief John Reed, an Anglo, and his successor, Sandy Weill, a Jew who forced Reed out, albeit with a huge golden parachute. The Journal talked about how cold Reed was and how in-your-face Weill was.

I just stumbled on another similar description in Business Week on the Internet of Weill and then-American Express CEO James Robinson III.

“The merger discussions between Weill and Robinson were marked by their contrasting personalities and backgrounds. Weill was a striver who had fired thousands and alienated some of his former partners and, doubtless, many others on his way to the top. Robinson had glided into power, it seemed, stepping on few, if any, toes. Weill was as emotional as Robinson was cool. Shearson was as loud and noisy as AmEx was buttoned-down and corporate. They knew there would be a culture clash, but they hoped the new firm would gain the best of both cultures.

“Not only were Robinson’s and Weill’s personalities and backgrounds different, so were their management styles. At the time of his merger negotiations with Robinson, Weill still ran Shearson as he had run CBWL-Hayden Stone, smoking cigars, getting in subordinates’ faces, making snap decisions, and continuing to combine personal and professional lives. For example, he and Joan would go on vacations with key executives and their wives after weeks of all-nighters working on a deal.

“Robinson, known as ‘Jimmy Three Sticks,’ ran American Express like the Fortune 500 company it was. Son of a banker from a prominent Atlanta family, he spoke with polish. Thoughtful and considerate, Robinson embodied the image of a courtly Southern gentleman. In his frequent speeches and public appearances around the world, he came across as a strong, hard-charging CEO, yet inside the firm, his leadership style could be described as conservative. He eschewed risk, preferring a bureaucratic, committee approach to decision making. A formal process was in place to vet new ideas. Things moved slowly and inefficiently to avoid mistakes.

“Importantly for Weill’s later showdowns with John Reed (the CEO of Citibank, who became co-CEOs of Citigroup with Weill in 1998), Robinson shared some similarities with the deep-thinking Citicorp banker. Both took the reins of power in their early 40s. Both were firm believers in the transforming power of technology. Both were happy to delegate authority, preferring to conceive of grand plans and let others perform the at-times mundane efforts to carry them out. Weill, of course, shared none of these characteristics with the two biggest adversaries of his career. Luckily for him, he had to face only one at a time.

Another recent example, from the New York Times, is a description of Dr. Zvi Y. Fuks (presumably Jewish with the name Zvi), one of the doctors recently accused of insider trading in Imclone stock by Sam Waksal, the Jewish man who sent Martha Stewart to jail. The Times article said:

“Dr. Louis A. Pena, who worked with Dr. Fuks in the late 1990’s, said: ‘He can get aggressive; if he disagrees with you he gets two inches away from your nose and tells you so.’ But Dr. Pena, now a scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, also said that Dr. Fuks was smart, capable and highly respected.”

There may well be some personality differences here having to do with race, religion, upbringing, or something. You have to wonder what’s going on in the Pentagon between Rumsfeld (Anglo), and Wolfowitz and Feith (Jews). Looking at these other examples above, it seems likely that the Jews in the Pentagon and their Jewish neo-con allies outside the Pentagon, at the American Enterprise Institute and various other think tanks and publications, are running the show. Iraq may well be a race war in which Jews send Christian soldiers to kill Muslims. I can only say with Joseph Conrad as his boat plowed into the Heart of Darkness, or with Marlon Brando’s version in Apocalypse Now, “The horror! The horror!”

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