Excuse of the Year

January 30, 2009 at 12:26 Leave a comment

I was recently asked by someone, a reader of this blog as a matter of fact, how I could stand commuting daily from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by bus without killing myself. Even though I must admit that it’s far from enjoyable every day, I have yet to contemplate suicide. (Admittedly, it has occasionally brought me to thoughts of homicide, though.)

The trick is to relax and forget about work. In order to achieve this, one needs to be prepared. I try to sleep, read or listen to the radio. I download my favorite radio shows, such as the weekly podcast of the New York Times Book Review, Vetenskapsradion historia and various documentaries from Swedish public radio.

But whatever preparations you make, sometimes you can’t escape work.

The other day on my way home from Jerusalem, I was listening to a documentary about Refaat el-Sayed. For those of you who don’t know who he is, he was a very successful businessman in Sweden in the middle of the 1980’s. He was even dubbed “Swede of the Year” in 1985. At least he was successful for a little while. The beginning of the end was a failed major deal with Volvo in 1986, and soon thereafter el-Sayed’s financial empire collapsed.

The show was mildly interesting, and would probably be of little interest to anyone who didn’t live in Sweden in the 1980’s and therefore doesn’t remember that decade as the years of Palme-el-Sayed-Gorbachev.  However, it becomes really interesting toward the end (ca 01:20:30 into the podcast), when el-Sayed gives his own explanation to why everything went south in 1986. Unlike most people, such as the media and the court that put him in jail, he doesn’t blame the crash on his lying and shady business.

Instead, he blames “the Zionists”. He says:

“P G Gyllenhammar [the head of Volvo at the time], he’s dependent upon the Zionist organization in the world. P G Gyllenhammar is a part of that group, directly or indirectly.”

In el-Sayed’s mind, powerful international Jewish business people wanted him to fail, and didn’t want him to become a player on the international financial markets because he’s an Arab, born in Egypt. All this to protect Israel. The show can be downloaded here.

Yes, Refaat, that makes perfect sense. This “Zionist organization” has really done a great job keeping Arabs out of the financial markets…

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Entry filed under: Allosemitism.

All Publicity? Ecumenical Liturgy

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