Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
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Should a convicted child molester sue a child advocate for defamation?

Rabbi Horowitz has over the past two decades become perhaps the best-known figure in the Orthodox community working to combat child abuse. He wrote a child-accessible book for prevention.

Now a US convicted child abuser is suing Rabbi Horowitz for defamation for warning parents in his new Israeli neighborhood against him. as an ongoing danger to children and urging parents to keep watch.

There is no dispute that the plaintiff was convicted of sexual abuse in the second degree in New York in 2009 and that he is registered as a level thee sex offender in the US. Level three is the highest level and means: high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists.

The whole idea about public registers of sex offenders on children is that you can’t say: was caught, was convicted, did time, let’s move on. The chances of repeat are often too great.

I learned that one needs to make a few distinctions:

  • There is a difference between a pedophile and a child molester. Not all pedophiles will molest. But there seems no cure for those who have done so. No, castration does not help. The innocent people who are never attracted to grown-ups are not to be envied and should not be equated to molesters. It should be understood that they should not be close or secluded with kids as one should not leave the fox to watch the geese, but they should also not be degraded.
  • There are molesters of young teenagers and of babies. The former are pedophiles who are only sexually attracted to boys or girls. There is no cure for that heartlessness. The latter do not care about the sex of their victims, abuse male and female babies alike. Their game is using powerless victims. There is no cure for that lack of morality.
  • The vast majority of “sexual” child abusers are men. Yet, women abuse too and are not less destructive. NB: Sexual violence is a type of violence, not of sex.
  • The offense is punishable because in almost all cases it ruins the victims’ lives. That it sometimes doesn’t (grown-up woman and young boy – who rather may feel great about being taken seriously and being his own man already) is a risk the law cannot take. If it’s real love, the grown-up should wait; if it’s just lust, they should keep their hands to themselves too.
  • The idea that most offenders are strangers (Stranger Danger) is obsolete (incest!). Most of them are acquaintances. The most “successful” ones may be married, known as saints or seem perfectly normal.
  • There was a time that child molesters tried to receive credibility by associating themselves with the gay movement as a fellow-sexual variation. Yet, the charade fell through as children’s lives should not be sexualized. Their consent (if at all) is never real valid consent.

The claimant’s lawyer admitted to The Jerusalem Post that his client, “is no saint.” However, he points out that no complaints have been filed in Israel and he has sued Horowitz for what he says are defamatory, unproven and false allegations and exaggerations both about his conviction and about his conduct after that conviction.

This reminds me of the libel case by Holocaust denier David Irving who in Britain in 1996 sued Deborah Lipstadt, a prominent historian, writer and professor, after she called him a liar in one of her books. She won. Sometimes it’s so easy to want a lawsuit to fail.

Whatever the merit of this comparison, how do I think this plaintiff should behave if — for argument’s sake — we’ll say that he’s on a righteous path now?

He should applaud that everyone around him is cautioned against him being close or secluded with youngsters. His level three conviction gives no chance for exaggeration. He should give lectures in his community to parents to never trust child abusers as there is no cure. He should specify that no family should have a guest sleep over who could at night visit the baby’s or children’s room. Being naive here is not a virtue.

That’s if he’s successful in having repented. And a fortiori, if he has not mended his ways, everyone around him should be cautioned against him being close or secluded with youngsters. His level three conviction gives no chance for exaggeration. There should be lectures in his community to parents to never trust child abusers as there is no cure. They should specify that no family should have a guest sleep over who could at night visit the baby’s or children’s room. Being naive here is not a virtue.

The accused, Rabbi Horowitz, is a saint and I hope that the judge — like in the case against Professor Lipstadt — will sing his praisees and convict the plaintiff to such court costs that we’ll never hear from him again.

Get informed, get his book — see here.

Full disclosure: I’ve never been sexually attracted to anyone under 16 and thank G-d for that. I once did have a child molester in therapy. His court-imposed participation in the therapy was a sham. But this supposedly super-religious man did tell me how he abused dozens of youngsters. His conviction never happened because of a computer error and he went straight back to seeking after youngsters, until he was caught again and sent to jail. Last I heard, he was hanging around Jerusalem playgrounds.

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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