Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Are Jews as chauvinist as Gentiles?

The Jewish Telegraph Association in “Here’s why we report on the Jewish victims of general tragedies” explains why it would be OK that it time and again reports on (tiny) Jewish angles in general stories. I appreciate the doubt!

Is that not chauvinist? Is it not ridiculous to look for rare Jewish victims in general tragedies, or focus on one Jewish winner among many non-Jewish ones, just in order to bring home the news to Jewish readers?

While arguing that all people are most interested in what happens to “their own,” he misses something crucial.

Judaism is characterized by two aspects, as I learned from Rabbi Lopes Cardozo: Jewish and humanistic stuff. We have Shabbat, kosher and our own sexual laws, but we have also things like: the Torah is given to all of Mankind through the Jews, Jews must be like Priests to all the Nations and Jews should work in Repairing the World – not just their own tent.

And just when you would argue that Jews are no better than Gentiles, and must be as egotistical, self-centered and small-minded as everyone else, I will say that anyway we are held to a higher standard. It is part of the rationale of our existence as Chosen Nation – the only People with an eternal mission.

What’s good enough for the Gentiles is not good enough for the Jews. (My variation to “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”) Gentiles should be good people; Jews must besides good be holy. (I don’t write we are – I write we should. Let others tell us if we are.)

Jews should feel empathy with Jews AND everyone. Which is happening, as we see in the unprecedented number of Israeli Jewish organizations that stand up for Gentile rights and needs (sometimes even slandering their own in the process).

Possibly subconsciously, the JTA boss seems to think so too. The length of his defense may be telling, as the French say so well: “qui s’excuse s’accuse,” or Shakespeare: The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

His solution is that it’s OK to focus on “our own” first, but that that then should be the opening to focus after that on everyone else. Unfortunately JTA does not always do that – understatement.

But I say: Don’t worry. Jews can handle the Jewish AND the humanistic angle. Use them both. Mix them. To be a humanist is Jewish too.

About the Author
The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. 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 a 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. To see other blog posts by him, a second blog - under construction - can be found by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture.
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