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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

My wish for 2018: A new political culture

If I could have one wish for 2018 then it would be that Israeli media stop being the mouthpiece of slandering politicians. A new political culture.

Israel has a beautiful bustling press. And we should keep that. I don’t want a limit on the freedom of the press. I’m not saying that politicians are necessarily saints, undeserving of criticism.

Only: The idea that criticism will improve things is a fallacy.

And so it is fiction that putting others down and sensationalism will bring readers or votes. It may bring in some fanatical supporters but at the same time you lose more reasonable people, sick and tired of negativity and libel.

Impossible?

Try these eight guidelines:

1. Attack policy, not politicians, people. That one is a crook and that one is a liar, that one is a thief and that one crazy. All these personal attacks amount to nothing. If their policies are wise, that’s all that counts. And if they are not, only that counts.

Besides, what light in moral darkness is anyone to attack someone else? Realize that when you point a finger at someone, typically three fingers point at yourself and one at G-d.

(If you think you must be negative about people, then reserve that for our real enemies. But also here it might be better to focus on the positive aspects: Iranians are tired of poverty and lack of freedom; people in Gaza really suffer under Chamas; most Arab Palestinians in East Jerusalem prefer to stay in Israel; most Egyptians never interacted with a Jew and all their information about Jews comes from libel, etc.)

“If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

– Abraham Lincoln

2. Be honest. Keep your word and never lie – except towards enemies.

There is a difference between competition (may the best win) and enemies (may they bite the dust). Don’t be so naive to keep your word opposite an enemy who will never.

But that doesn’t mean you should also play wise-guy with your friends and competition.

If you can’t get it honestly, maybe you’re not meant to have it.

3. Don’t exaggerate.

Don’t say that many will die, that democracy will come to an end, that war must break out, if you don’t get it your way. Democracy is that you may lose.

What arrogance to hold that you know better than these stupid voters who have not seen the light yet. That … is the voice of a dictator! If you want people’s votes, start by respecting their judgment. If they didn’t vote for your ideas, apparently you failed to make your case.

Also: One club did not destroy its opponent – they won heavily. It’s sports, for Heaven’s sake!

4. Be positive. Say what you want. Explain why. Explain how your ideas are helpful.

A good idea becomes clear when you share and explain it – not when you attack others’ ideas.

Smile instead of showing off your (real or fake) anger.

Sound hopeful and confident.

 

Ignore all negativity from your opponents and highlight where you think they are right.

Show why you are against some other ideas without (directly or indirectly) putting others down.

Stop stirring up strife.

Press: Build Israel’s morale! So the strike is not against the scandalous wages but for a more fair pay.

5. I would be thrilled with a law that penalizes Israeli anti-Zionist news outlets slandering Israel in English while in Hebrew they’re more reasonable and Israeli pro-Zionist news outlets sweet-talking about Israel in English while in Hebrew they’re extremist and racist. (This is how they collect sympathy and support at home to spread their lies abroad.)

6. And now I’m at it: can we also stop seeing headlines like “WATCH: man fell to his death” and similar hurtful clips.

It’s downright immoral to use people’s anxiety to score views at the expense of their emotional health.

7. And the voyeuristic reports. Reporting how famous people cry at their tragedies. What else are they supposed to do? This is not news, it’s embarrassing intrusion.

Israelis who feel a right to such garbage: Get a life of your own!

8. Finance polls that shows that any criticism of anyone and all political negativity only backfires: costs votes, readers. That’ll teach’m.

(The articles of the above hyperlinks I didn’t read; only the headlines.)

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: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ 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 (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), 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: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AMoshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&s=relevancerank&text=Moshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1
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