Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Should we have empathy with the people in Gaza?

Gaza is a humanitarian disaster. Should Israelis and others feel bad for them?

On the one hand, I don’t feel good about the question at all. How could we not feel for any human in (serious) pain? On the other hand, how can we be soft-hearted with people who elected a government that tries to kill all neighboring Jews even more than giving themselves a good life – a people that hates us more than it loves itself? (I know that the junta in Gaza oppresses the people, but, just like Hitler, in the first place it was democratically elected and in the second place, opinion polls there reveal that the population greatly supports the goal of genocide of the Jews in Israel.) And then, how full of self-hate must we be to overlook hate against ourselves? But then, is that not what Jews should do anyway?

In any case, Israelis are collectively proud of our military and health system aiding Syrian victims of the civil war there. This is similar to our health system completely not distinguishing between Arabs and Jews. (Unfortunately, Arabs need to do better than Jews to make it as a doctor, but this is as regrettable as true in every country for women, transgenders and everyone else as far as they don’t belong to the privileged groups of those societies.) Of course, this eagerness and pride to help civilians of enemy countries is hard to reconcile with the idea that Israelis are monsters. It does say something about the Israeli mindset – to help without asking ourselves if these victims would ever help us when needed.

Helping innocent people is not a question for simple nice people. I hope you’re a nice person, but if you’re also simple, may I try to cure you from that condition by presenting you the following three stories. Do they resemble some of the situation in Gaza?

1. A good husband, excellent father and exemplary employee commits mass murder. He’s caught, brought to trial and convicted. His wife, children en employer suffer tremendously from missing him while they are completely innocent. How can a just judicial system hurt the innocent?

2. After WW II, Germany cities lied in ruins. Many people had died and been killed. Should we feel bad for the Germans? Well, they did vote Hitler into power. They hardly protested the humiliation, criminalization, removal and murder of their Jews. Many had just been bystanders, but who says that that makes them innocent? Many of them had cooperated with, perpetrated and profited from crimes against humanity. Some 50 million people died in WW II. Should we feel for the misfortune of the citizens of the nation who started all this?

3. Should we feel bad for a suicide bomber? He sets out to murder. But often he’s just a kid, brainwashed into hatred. I feel bad for someone who does not only waste his life in silliness but even in wickedness.

The people in Gaza did vote for Hamas. They are now oppressed by its hatred against women, homosexuals and independent thinkers. But they also still hate Israel more than they love their own children. The economic blockade of Gaza would not exist if they had not set their mind on genocide of the Jews or if they had repented.

This is my take:

  1. They, as so many Arabs, caused their own misfortune by fighting the Jews and losing.
  2. As long as they have not repented their stand, their self-inflicted suffering will continue.
  3. I feel bad for people wasting their life in hate and suffering, even when self-inflicted.
  4. That cannot mean that we should give them relief by letting them kill us.
  5. Most power players that permit their continued silliness to fight us are not from this region. They are the real villains. Jew-hating powerful and simple people.
  6. Most Arab countries do not care about Gazans. Most Israelis have no pleasure in seeing them suffer. But how to help them is not simple. It’s hard to give a mean dog a good life. Gazans are not dogs, but they are mean for us – so far. They play the victim, but in fact they are the villains. They’d better start praying for the right stuff, because I see no solution for them presently.
  7. The crisis in Gaza is self-inflicted and it seems that only Gazans may change their fate. If one Nation (Germans) did it, everyone can.
About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. 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 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 lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * 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. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. 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 a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.