Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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Buttigieg’s mistakes on Israel

Donald J. Trump has now nicknamed Pete Buttigieg  "Alfred E. Neuman" (1954), the fictitious mascot and cover boy of the American humor magazine Mad. Well, as the old saying goes: "He who laughs last has probably the least sense of humor." Image screenshot from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,
Donald J. Trump has now nicknamed Pete Buttigieg "Alfred E. Neuman" (1954), the fictitious mascot and cover boy of the American humor magazine Mad. Well, as the old saying goes: "He who laughs last has probably the least sense of humor." Image screenshot from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,

I’m going to sidestep the misquotes by a fellow blogger from my earlier blog post questioning Buttigieg’s commitment to Israel. Maybe she just mischaracterized some points from misunderstanding me, from not being so precise or in any case not maliciously. It’s all not so important.

But what is important is that she writes that Buttigieg is completely spot-on about the Jewish State because he’s been in Israel and understands the situation. How does she know that he sees things so well?

My colleague divulges that she hopes to make aliyah soon. May I say that I only began to understand the situation in Israel after settling in Jerusalem? The situation here is so different from anywhere else in the world, and especially from Europe and the US, that even frequent flyers to Israel regularly misjudge the situation here completely.

For my former post, I didn’t have the text of his foreign policy speech but she provides these words which I will gratefully quote — to show their mistakes blow-by-blow. It’s worse than I expected from press reports.

Cut out was what Mayor Pete said just before the quotes in her blog begin:

We will remain open to working with a regime like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the benefit of the American people. But, we can no longer sell out our deepest values for the sake of fossil fuel access and lucrative business deals. If we recognize that the torture and execution of dissidents is [sic] wrong, then we should have the courage to say that it is wrong on both sides of the Gulf.

The juxtaposing of his stern remarks towards the coldblooded Saudi-Arabian regime and about Israel, as if one could have anything to do with the other, is just unforgivable.

It doesn’t say what anti-Zionists say that we’re Nazis but now insinuates something more modern: yet another intolerable regime in the Mideast.

(Minor point: the Gulf lies between SA and Africa, not SA and the US.)

[The following quotes were in her blog post.]

The closer an ally, the more important it is that we speak truth to them. The security and survival of the democratic state of Israel has been and continues to be an essential tenet of US foreign policy, and is very much in our national interest.

The  two sentences contradict each other in spirit. The first one claims that the US and Israel are really close. But then he says, that’s in the US’ own interest. This may not be so important but now I’m at it, let me say that being a friend is the opposite from wanting something from him.

Which is why neither American nor Israeli leaders should play personal politics with the security of Israel and its neighbors.

He just wrongly equalized “Israel and its neighbors” and “American and Israeli leaders.” Israel’s neighbors have no security fears vis-à-vis Israel.

And to equate humanist Bibi to immoral Trump is — especially from his mouth — an unprovoked or at least unsubstantiated, undeserved and unwanted insult. What has Bibi ever done to him to talk like that?

Just as an American patriot may oppose the policies of an American President, a supporter of Israel may also oppose the policies of the Israeli right-wing government, especially when we see increasingly disturbing signs that the Netanyahu government is turning away from peace.

Saying that any Israeli government has ever been “turning away from peace” is such a proof of lack of insight. Israelis long for it more than any Nation in the world. It’s what we say to each other in the street all day long: Shalom.

To characterize the Netanyahu government as “right-wing” shows how little he knows. It’s only right-wing compared to the norms and lies of extremely left-wing anti-Zionist Haaretz — which he should never read. The Likud and Netanyahu are centrist parties, maybe slightly to the right, just like Buttigieg is a centrist (in this speech he says to stand for “inclusive democratic capitalism”), maybe slightly to the left.

He falsely equates [powerless] criticism by an American patriot on the US with criticism by historically the world’s greatest bully on Israel.

The suffering of the Palestinian people, especially the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, has many authors, from the extremism of Hamas and the inefficacy of the Palestinian Authority to the indifference of the international community and, yes, the policies of the current Israeli government. And now, Gaza has become a breeding ground for the kind of extremism that only exacerbates threats to Israel and the region.

He puts the blame for the Junta of Gaza starving its own people partly on Israel. The US is more to blame for keeping brutal dictators in the saddle than Israel for the situation in Gaza. We refuse to let the haters in the Gaza Strip commit genocide on us. That’s us creating suffering for them?!? It’s like crying over the hurting hand of an abuser.

Israeli and Palestinian citizens should be able to enjoy the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear and to work to achieve economic well-being for their families.

From being “evenhanded,” falsely equating security for Israel and Gaza, he has now “progressed” to pretending that Gazans live in fear of Israel. This is like saying that bank robbers and police fear each other and that both parties and their families deserve to live calmly.

The only source for hardship in Gaza is their unremitting desire to murder all Jewish Israelis and Israel’s stubbornness at resisting that. What interest would Israel have in bothering anyone?

As Israel’s most powerful and most reliable ally, the United States has the opportunity to shape a more constructive path with the tough and honest guidance that friendship and fairness require.

This just means: pressure on Israel to give in to what the US wants and sees as “a more constructive path.” This is at the same time arrogant, paternalistic and imperialistic.

The current state of affairs cannot endure. The pressure of history and the mathematics of demography mean that well before 2054, Israelis and Palestinians will have come to see either peace or catastrophe.

The old lied figures claiming that Muslim Palestinians in Israel will out-baby Jewish Israelis. Completely rebutted. He’s not up-to-date.

The contrast between “[complete] peace” and “[looming] catastrophe” is false. There is no peace unless Jew-hatred in the Middle East is addressed. Any “peace process” that doesn’t demand this is doomed to fail. Since there is no worldwide support for safety for Jews yet, there is no solution. To pretend that there must be a solution because war is so unacceptable is wishful thinking which is more wishful than thinking.

A two-state solution that achieves legitimate Palestinian aspirations and meets Israel’s security needs remains the only viable way forward, and it will be our policy to support such a solution actively.

The Two-State solution is so dead that it is hard to believe that he doesn’t know. He’s flogging the dead horse after its interment. If you want Palestinian statehood, talk to the King of Jordan.

Again, he draws a false comparison, now between Israel’s security and “legitimate Palestinian aspirations.” Insertion of the word “legitimate” though, shows that he knows something.

And if Prime Minister Netanyahu makes good on his threat to annex West Bank settlements, he should know that a President Buttigieg would take steps to ensure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill.

His financial threat is not even the worst. It’s the whole mindset of Israel being the one to shape up or else… Exactly like Obama. We don’t need Obama III — thank you very much.

In America, White colonialists stole the land from the Natives whom they shot like rabid dogs. In Israel, the Jews are the natives. (Many Muslim Palestinians are forcibly converted Jews. But even more of them are not Palestinian at all. Arafat was from Cairo.) You can’t understand the West Bank if you don’t know that.

[Also his next remarks are relevant but were missing from the blog post.]

At home and abroad, it is not too late for America to restore her leadership position as a beacon of values that are both universal and at the core of the American project. Democracy, freedom, shared security. The world does need America to model our values.

And here we have it for all to see. Buttigieg puts America as “beacon of values that are both universal and at the core of the American project. Democracy, freedom, shared security.” Which then supposedly gives the US the right to force their approach onto Israel. May I humbly suggest that the US could learn a hell of a lot of value from the tiny Jewish State?


In his newest town hall presentation, he has not spoken of betterment or regret about the above. It sounds rather like doubling down.

We would like to think that Buttigieg is no exception to the Democratic pack. However, the New York Times spent three months interviewing all candidates for the Democratic presidential candidacy on how they thought about Israel. Sadly, Mayor Pete comes out as top-militant against the Jewish State.

Biden wisely declined to participate (just like Obama kept his real views on Israel under-wraps but we now know what he was thinking so Biden should not surprise anymore). Bernie is reliably anti-Zionist too. But B-number-3, Buttigieg, is among the three nasty leaders of the pack on this. Compare that to the way Elisabeth Warren speaks, with care, respect, warmly and without any arrogance, judgment or will to impose.


Buttigieg’s like the idiotic policeman who says to the abused woman: Just go home and you should both be more reasonable and I’m sure you and your husband can work it out. That’s not just stupid — that’s dangerous.

His attitude vis-à-vis Israel seems as the haughty words spoken by the French diplomat Melchior de Polignac to the Dutch whom he despised:

We negotiate here by you, about you and without you.

Buttigieg, I like him. He’s a good bloke. But on Israel, he has more than no clue. He presently stands at the wrong side of history. Is someone going to educate him and open his eyes? I thought so of Obama and boy, was I wrong. (With Obama and Corbyn the indifference about Jews seems to stem from classical Marxism; with Buttigieg it rather seems to spring from church teachings.) So, forgive me for not holding my breath.

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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