Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Always being blind for race does not equal anti-racism

Kesim, Ethiopian rabbinical leaders, at a Sigd celebration at Jerusalem's Haas Promenade when thousands gather to pray and recite Psalms. (Flash90)
Kesim, Ethiopian rabbinical leaders, at a Sigd celebration at Jerusalem's Haas Promenade when thousands gather to pray and recite Psalms. (Flash90)

My third blog post in as many days, discussing death in homicide or through negligent manslaughter in Israel connected to ethnicity.

Two days ago, I discussed men murdering their wives or girlfriends. For many years already, this happens in Israel with a frequency of two per month (population: 8 million; 3 per million per year). (In The US (where women kill husbands too in great numbers) the rate is about 2.8/m, y, in the UK 1.5, Australia 2.4/m, y.) Most couples in this trouble here have been or Gentile Arabs or New Immigrants. The ‘uptick’ in uxoricide now reported does not exist. The only news is that it coincidentally happened one after the other to a couple of long-term-Israeli Jewish women.

Yesterday, I wrote about men dying in construction work accidents in Israel. Most of them are foreign workers and Israeli Arab Gentiles.

Black Lives Matter

Today, I will address the recent killing of an Ethiopian Youth, shot by an Israeli policeman. These kinds of deaths are nowhere-near happening here at the same frequency as in the US, where so often White policemen killed Black men (Black Lives Matter). There are ‘only’ a few cases here but they are on top of mounting racism Ethiopian Jews are subjected to, day-to-day.

There was no racism against Ethiopian Jews to be seen, 20 years ago. What happened? Perhaps then, the quiet shy Ethiopian new immigrants still kept more to themselves, staying under the radar of racists. When I first met Ethiopian Jews, they were all the sweetest of the sweet. They still are, but now often with something bitter on top of it. And with good reasons.

Let’s review what the press reported about the most recent killing. Ethiopian activists, allies, family of the victim, and friends refuse to let this case end up in a cover-up or be reasoned-away. Why?

Two Conflicting Defenses Means no Defense

At first, when I first blogged about this killing, the policeman’s story was that he felt threatened and only fired at the ground. The killing bullet indeed was found and turned out to have been a ricochet. Many said: End of case. Too quickly! My questions at the time were: But why did he pull his gun on an Ethiopian Jew in the first place? They’re not known to attack police people unprovoked. Why should we believe his neat story trying to clear himself if so clearly there are holes in it (what angered the youths)?

Now the press reports that the officer says that he was running from the three youths, ‘wildly’ shooting behind him. What happened to his earlier story that he aimed at the ground? Aiming and wildly don’t go together.

I’m not legally schooled and not his judge but here we have a police officer who shot an Ethiopian youth and claims contradictory things on why he’s innocent. In both cases, he claimed he felt in danger. But now we know that the victim was as drunk as it gets and drugged. An active policeman cannot outrun a drunk? The choice is only between standing safely and shooting? It is police forbidden to run away to avoid harm to himself?

To Ignore ‘Race’ Can be Racist

One should not take someone’s ethnic background or skin color into account when that is irrelevant. That’s how children seek playmates. But that doesn’t include (how uncomfortable for Whites): always overlook race. White people should roundly acknowledge feeling uneasy about race. Non-Caucasians who’ve been around Caucasians just see our uneasiness like Jews see the anti-Semitism in Gentiles. Pretending that ‘we’re all the same’ pushes any racism problems toward non-Whites. ‘It’s your problem, you solve it.’ And if racism is anyone’s problem, it’s ours — to solve.

About this case, three things should be regarded with racism in mind.

One. You can’t consider the drunk Ethiopian youth without seeing that, when society rejects you for your roots, being drunk is not just a flee from responsibility and distress but also caused by racism. This was a good guy floored by society. If you ignore that, you’re strengthening racism.

Two. Why in the world did the officer pull out his gun? Ethiopian Jews have never attacked policemen unprovoked. (While we have seen cases of the opposite.) Isn’t that is the ultimate humiliation, to threaten to shoot someone? I have all (fire) power and you have nothing. Why was it necessary to escalate the situation like this? Who wouldn’t have been infuriated by that, especially when uninhibited by alcohol? Would he as easily have pulled a gun on a whiter youth? Statistics show he would not.

Three. The Police Investigations Department sent a letter to the parents of the boy defending (sic) the findings of the police ballistics department and the state’s forensics institute that the killing bullet was a ricochet. A letter? They sent a letter? Really? Are they scared of them? Or rather afraid of arguments against this technical bull? How insensitive and humiliating.

That’s how I understand the anger of Ethiopian Jews and friends. Just ignoring the race part of the story, makes it all come out racist.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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