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

Art theft and artful statistics in the news

The news constantly asks us to (or hopes we don’t) wreck our brains.

Return of art and artifacts removed from their homes?

I’m not going to talk about what is lawful and unlawful because laws can be arbitrary and unjust. Four cases by way of example:

The British [colonial] Museum holds art from all over the world when colonialism was standard and fine. How could that still be OK in 2019?

In fact, 90% of African art is displayed outside Africa. Now France wants to return it or compensate Africa.  But the rest of Europe doesn’t agree.

Museums everywhere hold art stolen from Holocaust victims; sometimes a judge rules for returning and sometimes not. Theft is not always theft?

The Netherlands have a commission deciding if stolen museum art is not too vital for public display to be returned to its owners or their heirs — without reparation! The US should steal all top Dutch museological art and not return any of it because in the US, more museum-goers will see it.

Going through a collection of all art by Van Gogh, I’m stunned that so much of it is not in the two Van Gogh museums in the Netherlands. Legally bought away but meanwhile lacking in their country of origin.

Palestinians have claimed the Dead Sea Scrolls. Found “on Palestinian Land.” Obviously ridiculous as they are as Jewish as anything could be.

My point: laws generally follow public opinion. Once we get a sharper picture of what is true and right, laws will shape up too.

This summer, 10 Million Passengers not to pass through Ben Gurion

Talking about honesty: do you remember I warned you never to trust any figure in a news report?

10 Million Passengers expected to pass through Tel Aviv’s Airport in the next four months” is patently false. Don’t set up a tourist business yet.

10 million is the number of plane seats of planes arriving or leaving Ben Gurion Airport. However, most tourists will come and go, most Israelis who will go on vacation will return. So, we’re talking about 5 million people really. Maybe 2.5 million Israelis will go abroad so, over 4 months, we’ll have about 2.5 million tourists. Half a million are Jews who’ll come for the High Holidays. Half a million tourists per month in the high season. Hardly more than previously. Your new tourist shop is not yet needed.

Quadrupling Jews?

Here’s another statistical “miracle” from a report about a survey.

“Counting up all Orthodox Jews, we find 79,000 “grandparents,” nearly 200,000 “parents,” and over 340,000 children. In other words, over two generations, the Orthodox pretty much quadrupled in size [sic].”

The oldest generation seems to have had more than four children each couple (two parents, four kids is doubling the size of the new generation). And this middle generation had three-and-a-half kids per couple. But the population didn’t grow four times as large. The number of kids did.

The reporter compares the children of two generations ago with the three generations alive now. That’s not fair. To compare, you need to also look at the three generations alive then. If there was no growth in population two generations ago, as the writer suggests but doesn’t show, then two generations ago there were then (roughly) 80,000 kids, 80,000 parents and 80,000 grandparents. That makes that the population doubled, not quadrupled (from trice 80,000 to (1+2+3.5=) 6.5 times 80,000). If from the presently alive grandparents generation many have passed away already, the relative growth becomes even less.

Religious Coercion in Israel worse than in Syria?

The best of US pollsters have now concluded that Israel is worse than Syria in terms of religious freedom. Anyone who knows anything about current affairs understands that that can’t be true. Millions have fled Israel and here, strangers try to get in illegally. Where was their mistake?

First of all, they didn’t investigate freedom of religion but freedom from religion. Atheists have it a bit harder in Israel because there is no civil marriage, not a perfect separation between state and religion, etc.

What was not understood by the researchers was that Israel has better freedom of religion than any country I know. Workers get the days off that are holy to their religion: Jews on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays, Christians on their Sundays and Holidays, Muslims for their Feasts, etc. Foreign workers get their national holidays free, all with continued payment.

In the Netherland, I had to spend all my yearly vacation days on taking off for Jewish Holidays. On the other hand, my colleagues loved it that I’d work on their shifts during Christian Holidays for which I would not only get more hours but also 200% salary. Still, no days for taking a vacation left.

Yes, all marriages and funerals, and (optional) family law, are religion-based in Israel, but each according to their religion. No freedom from but surely freedom for religion. On top of that, here no one cares if a person in the street or a civil servant helping you is called Chris, Moish or Achmed, and wears Muslim, Jewish or Christian symbols.

Yes, Shabbat public transportation doesn’t run, stores are closed, hospitals only deal with emergencies, etc. But it’s the only (tiny) country in the world that gives such prominence to the Jewish Tradition, so maybe that’s not so bad. For now, not millions are fleeing Israel.

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. * 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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