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

“Befehl ist Befehl”, literally “an order is an order,” is alive in the Netherlands

The Netherlands just decided to sort out all the atrocities that its military committed in “its” Colony the Dutch Indies after WW II to try stopping an independent Indonesia. The Low Countries are obviously very slow in cleaning up war crimes. Look at the following case.

There is now a trial going on about alleged liquidation of Moluccan train hijackers from close by after they were already incapacitated, 40 years ago. Marines employed at the liberation of the train claim not to have done this. It is hard to believe them. Autopsy reports tend to be very accurate in the Netherlands. But then it happened.

Marines employed at breaking up another Moluccan hostage situation now have spoken up. They could not stay silent any longer. Their story: politicians try to run away from blame by framing us, declaring that they never asked for liquidation. However, we marines are trained to kill. You order marine action, you order killers. Otherwise you send in the police. The ones who should stand trial are the politicians.

In other words: “I’m sure we murdered them but politicians ordered us – go take them to court.” Shocking! Have they never heard that ever since the Nuremburg trials against Nazi Germany’s top perpetrators, “Befehl ist Befehl”, literally “an order is an order,” is invalid defense? Who needs a prosecutor with friends and colleagues like that!

Apparently they still think that any command needs to be executed, even if it’s plain murder. But it gets worse. Really.

The minister of justice at the time, who ordered the storming of the train, is still alive. In the Netherlands, ministers can be political appointees who know nothing about the ministry they get to work in. But this person was law professor. We’re talking about the notorious Van Agt, later known for his unabated smear campaign against Israel, but who already at the beginning of his political career called himself in an interview an Aryan, instead of Gentile or non-Jew.

Professor Van Agt has refused to answer questions about his orders to the marines at the time “as long as the trial goes on.” This evasion shows that he too is unaware of the bankruptcy of the Befehl ist Befehl excuse. Otherwise he could have easily said: Even if they were told to kill all the hostages and take no prisoners, which I deny, that does not permit anyone to murder someone who’s been rendered powerless or who has given himself up. Murderers on order are still murderers.

In the post-WW II Jewish State, the military code is (of course) very clear on the obligation to disobey unjust orders. Conscripts are drilled about it endlessly. But even the Israeli public that never served knows that unlawful commands cannot be heeded. Not so in the Netherlands: not the law professor minister of justice, not the marines, not the prosecutor, not the defense lawyers and not the judge know. Shocking.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. 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 (partly) generated by AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his 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, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, 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 who don't deserve that. 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), 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. * 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, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * 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. 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, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and 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. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to 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. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * 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, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. 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 being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance 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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