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

Hasbarah

To let your words stand with the Truth and the Jews no matter what

Yes, the vicious, anti-Zionist reporting from international and national news outlets makes it easy to become or remain an Antisemite. Such reports are always based on lies. These never are just other opinions.

Giving honest counter-information is called: hasbarah (Hebrew for explanation). It is similar to objections against any bigotry. It doesn’t need to be perfect as long as anyone protests.

In the latest anti-Israel hostilities, terrorists fired 1175 rockets at Israeli civilians. Those are not accidents; these are 1175 cases of war crimes.

Nobody died here because Israel built a warning and a 96%-accurate defense system and because the population can run to bomb shelters. To most Israelis, human life is more valuable than anything else.

But, the terror groups like to have a lot of dead to show how inhuman we supposedly are. So, they fire their missiles next to schools, mosques, etc. (hoping we’d return fire and they can show collateral damage) and build no shelter or warning system. The population can literally drop dead.

However, our soldiers only target terrorists and their weapons and entrenchments and only bomb hideouts of terrorists. If they see civilians or children close to their target, the attack is aborted for the time being.

In these three days, according to the junta in Gaza, 35 people were killed, 13 of whom were terrorists. At least 15 children were killed because 20% of their rockets fell inside Gaza. The regime doesn’t care, but the population does, but they have nothing to say.

One more thing: the Israeli army is the most moral army in the world. I’m not saying that out of chauvinism – it’s true. I can give countless examples.

The charges that we are child murderers and monsters are thousands of years old, but they are now especially important because they can be used to counter any shame for the Holocaust. “The Israelis themselves commit genocide, so we Europeans aren’t blameworthy.” Bad. The Dutch saying goes: It is impossible to catch hares with unwilling dogs. It is impossible to be at peace with unwilling neighbors. Jews in Israel want peace, but you can’t do it alone. Billions of Antisemites prevent peace for Jews at all costs.

Many friends of Jews feel for us but do nothing. That appears to be a non-Jewish disease, which is very persistent and is passed down from generation to generation.

Germany shows this is not a Law of Nature. There, 20% are still deeply Nazi, but the other 80% give them no chance to power and are actively standing next to Jews to honor and protect them. Whenever things go wrong (and they do), Allies spring into action. Upon entry, refugees or migrants there are taught respect for democracy, women, gays, and Jews.

The Netherlands is far from that. The Dutch point a blaming finger at Antisemitic Muslims, which is pure racism. They only spread Antisemitism because the Dutch still refuse to look at and evaluate themselves and recognize their complicity in the Holocaust and centuries of oppression of Jews. Of the slave trade they do, but not of the Jew trade. Germans show that this can be done differently.

Now, one doesn’t need to risk one’s life to stand by the Jews, unlike some exceptional Gentiles had to and have done. That still doesn’t mean anyone is interested. The Netherlands has a tradition to talk nicely about someone who is drowning, shouting one’s sympathy, but not jumping into the water trying to save them. This is so foreign to me that I don’t know a remedy.

‘The road to Auschwitz was not built by hate, but paved with indifference.’

When will that change in the Netherlands? Do not hold your breath until then because then you could turn quite blue.

Someone asked me rhetorically: What has one against the Jews? They have given – for better or for worse – the world Abraham, Moses, Spinoza, Einstein, Freud, Marx—who are never cursed. Such a nice People.

I answered: I know another group that gets the same treatment: They work harder than anyone, mostly unpaid, often selflessly, nurturing young, old, and anyone in between, friendly, non-confrontational, for as long as anyone can remember, with an outstanding warm empathy and sharp intuition. Women. They birthed and nursed us, and don’t cause wars, rape, steal, or murder. But, why then are they looked down upon? Research men, not women, to find the cause. (Yes, there are terrible women, but so few that they confirm these rules. Don’t let those close to children—or anyone else with feelings. But, don’t confuse them with moody women.)

Antisemitism is hard to face until you can give hasbara. To feel it as unbearable is apparently mainly powerlessness.

Hasbara does not aim to change the hard-core Antisemites’ opinions. The intent is that bystanders (including Jews) receive the correct information and to create an atmosphere of self-confidence in which everyone may open their mouth whenever people are getting lied to or oppressed.

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. * 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. * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 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: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. * 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 (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), 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.
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