A well-written analysis entitled “Israel is suspected again of assassinating an enemy’s rocket scientist. Do these killings pay off?” has a funny – but not that funny – segment in it. The Jewish press agency is not to be suspected of being anti-Semitic, perish the thought, but the words in the section Revenge are truly troublesome.
First of all, Western anti-Jewish press agencies are very fond of accusing Israel of committing retaliation. This plays not only into Western guilt feelings about the Holocaust (they want revenge – don’t admit) but also perpetuates the classical Christian canard that Jews would have a bloodthirsty Old Testament God teaching retribution and Christians a loving New Testament God teaching to turn the other cheek – not that Jews in 2000 years have had much pleasure from this make-belief charity. Not all Christians think like this but this old anti-Jewish lessons is widespread and sits at least in the subconscious of every Western person. Calling Jews revengeful is as oppressive as calling Negros dumb and imbeciles worthless. But there is more than a wrong sub-headline.
The alleged killings by Israel’s long arm are explained by an incomplete quote from the Talmud. “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This principle counts only if this would-be murderer cannot be stopped in any other way. Who could be against the prevention of murder? In context, it makes good sense – out of context, it does not.
The Revenge section presents two (!) cases among allegedly over 2300 extra-judicial executions. That seems already a case of cherry picking.
(Before continuing, may I please interject a disclaimer: In my opinion, Arab Palestinians deserve better leaders than mass murderers.)
Prominently presented is Ariel Sharon’s wish to kill Arafat. This followed by a totally unfounded claim that Israel may have killed him through a “mysterious infection” (if it’s mysterious, Israel must have done it, no?) – the guy had AIDS about which there is nothing mysterious – unless this saint of murderers was not sleeping around with his “bodyguards”. He always declared himself “married to Palestine” – my foot. (There is a moral code not to out people, but there are two exceptions: powerful people who hurt GLBTQs and human monsters (Roy Cohn was both).)
Arafat, like Hitler, survived many attempts at his life unscratched. Why focus on blaming the Jews? Ask yourself why G-d plans it like that.
The second and last example “likely” of revenge “also” being “a factor” was the execution of Chamas’ “spiritual” leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, although “he was not involved in its operations.” Neither was Hitler and many a gangster boss. To justify and call for mass murder should suffice to qualify someone as mass murderer, even if he never pulled a trigger.
How in the world, does this JTA article make the case for these two anti-Semitic mass murderers? Beats me. Usually, they’re more careful – though recently they claimed that Formicidae can be Jewish too. (They carried an article that for twelve hours mentioned in its headline ant-Semitism – see browser.) With that joke, I want to say that we should not get too worked-up about this error. Mistakes happen. And it gave me a chance to explain how bad it is to say that Israel takes revenge. However:
A little honor for the selfless Israelis who – allegedly – risk their own lives to commit these life-saving operations would go a long way.
This (revenge part of the) article should be removed from the JTA achieve. It shames and stains its otherwise great service to the public.
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. *
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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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