I have focused my last few columns on what I feel is the bane of human existence – krim people. These are adult men and women who have a twisted ego: some unrealistically see themselves as being superior and Hashem’s gift to mankind – or conversely, they subconsciously have huge inferiority complexes. This unbalanced self-view can create individuals who are socially incompetent, deeply depressed and/or full of rage. Most act, react or relate in a way that is atypical and arguably pathologically abnormal.
In my opinion, two hard-to-ignore red flags that indicate the likelihood of noxious krimkeit are if someone is blatantly hypocritical and hypercritical.
As I’ve mentioned before, there is a classic Yiddish saying that nails the nature of hypocrisy. In English it translates to, “No one sees his own hunchback.” It means that people are quick to point out someone else’s flaws, but are unable or unwilling to see their own. They have the disgusting habit of constantly criticizing people for the very wrongs they themselves are guilty of.
Krimkeit, however,is not limited to the mindset and actions of just individuals. Whole groups of people, or even organizations can be disturbingly krim – especially when it comes to Jews and the State of Israel. As reported this summer in Canada’s Jewish Tribune, “the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel while claiming its action does not signify an alignment with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement… The PCUSA focused on Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola this year because the three companies refused its requests to conform to its ‘policy on socially responsible investing.’”
This action parallels that of the United Church of Canada. As reported in May 2013 in the Huffington Post Canada, “Canada’s largest Protestant Church has identified three Israeli companies it may target for a boycott over the firms’ operations in the occupied Palestinian territories. The United Church of Canada has identified cosmetics company Ahava and home and gardens goods manufacturer Keter Plastic as companies doing business in “illegal Israeli settlements,” along with SodaStream, a company that makes home carbonation equipment for soft drinks…The church’s General Council approved a report last summer (2012) that called the Israeli occupation ‘the primary contributor to the injustice that underlies the violence of the region’ and called the settlements ‘a serious obstacle’ to peace.”
The majority of those who voted for these measures (to be fair, many members were greatly dismayed by the passing of these resolutions) are descendants of Christian Europeans and oblivious of their own “hunchback.” Each of them who owns a house or business or any property in North America is actually occupying land that was forcibly taken away from its true owners, the Native Americans, who lived on the land for centuries before the “pale faces” showed up.
These church-going hypocrites have not even for a moment considered that from an impartial observer of history, they could be viewed as occupiers who are continuing the tainted legacy of their ruthless, thieving ancestors. They would be howling with rage and demanding revenge and retribution if rockets and missiles from Indian reservations (in my view, a polite word for ghettos) were raining down on their country clubs and churches and schools and if suicide bombers detonated themselves in their restaurants and buses.
I imagine that it would be accurate to describe them as Christians who believe in the Bible – including the Old Testament, where it clearly states that G-d promised the Land of Israel to the Hebrews – the Jewish people – and it is their ancestral home. There was always a Jewish presence there over the centuries.