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

The truly unjust side effects of true justice

This fictitious story clarifies how perfect human justice can be very unjust

This is my rendering after a story by Rabbi Zev Leff, may he be well.

Imagine a sheer perfect person. He’s very respectful and grateful vis-à-vis his parents. He loves and adores his wife and stands by her any way she wishes and more and is grateful for her support. He’s a superb father to their children. He teaches by example, is always pointing out things he likes in them, gives each what they long for, answers their questions, and is generously available. He’s a model worker. All his colleagues like and admire him and his boss consults him regularly. He’s always ready to help, to ask and give advice when needed, honest, fair, warm, punctual. (Same with his friends.) Many work there because he’s there. He’s a pillar in the community, both with volunteering and chairing community interests.

He only has one flaw. As soon as he sees a fast-food restaurant he’ll run to buy a machine gun to kill everyone inside. One fatal day, this story goes, he does just that. The police arrest him, he’s brought to court, and he gets life without the possibility of parole. No one can say that’s unfair.

However, his parents, wife, children, boss, colleagues, friends, and everyone in his community suffer a tremendous loss. But why? They did nothing wrong. How is this fair?

This is not fair to everyone else, but his verdict is. Could the judge send him home as if nothing happened? No. He cannot punish him less because bystanders suffer. He also didn’t punish more to hurt his close ones.

The story is not as far-fetched as it sounds. Take pit bull terriers. Bred to attack and kill small animals. But, not in attack mode, they are incredibly sweet, especially to children. Yet, when triggered, they turn into killing machines, almost impossible to be stopped. (A teacher of one of my kids, an extreme softy and deeply religious man, once stopped an attacking pit bull terrier. All the kids in the class thought he was the cool hero he was.) Unfortunately, a baby skull is exactly what can trigger them. Therefore, all pit bull terriers should be put down. Is that fair to the sweet dogs? No. Is that fair to the kids who loved him? No. But you can’t have them around. [As a side point, Dutch animal experts hold these dogs have no aggressive nature so that their aggression comes from not being properly trained.]

Same in Gaza. Most of these mass murderers, rapists, and terrorists probably have parents, wives, children, bosses, colleagues, friends, and neighbors who care about them. All of the latter might be innocent (let’s say, for argument’s sake). The IDF tries to spare them. It’s sad, but showing what Israel does with people who collectively are bent on mass murdering Jews is shocking. It looks more inhumane than an abattoir (I’m a vegan). But it’s the proper, right, just, and humane thing to do.

Recall this, when the media push the innocently hurt bystanders’ narrative.

The survivors of the genocide are different. They are like rape victims, even those not physically raped—different from the family of the rapists.

The rabbis teach G^d’s Justice does no collateral damage. Each verdict is perfectly calibrated. [But martyrdom only cleanses and elevates.] Yet, one can be unlucky and suffer collateral damage only your neighbor deserved. But that will always rectify something from an earlier incarnation.

On Proportional and Collateral Damage, Guilt, and War Crimes

Military action being ‘proportional’ has nothing to do with ‘getting even’ or taking revenge ‘reasonably.’ Something like: ‘You killed so many of us, so now, we can kill so many of you’ has nothing to do with fair warfare.

Rather, a military strike is disproportional when it aims at a proper military target, but an unreasonable number of non-combatants or civil structures are hurt. Bombing cities indiscriminately is a war crime. Targeted killing of an enemy while trying to spare bystanders is just and fair in war.

NB: Houses of worship, hospitals, and schools are to be spared. Yet, their protected status falls away when they are used by the combatants of the invaded population in the war to store weapons, to fire from them, etc. The international legislators or the laws of war were not stupid.

The US in Afghanistan fought proportionally. It killed three to five times more bystanders than terrorists. That is proportional! The IDF in Gaza is so careful with human life that it kills less than one civilian for every terrorist!

NB: A child (someone under 18) carrying or using arms is counted as a soldier. Chamas trained and used many child terrorists. ‘Journalists’ who worked for Chamas are not immune civil reporters. They are fair game.

Unarmed Gazan civilians also committed war crimes in great numbers (plunder, rape, unlawful incarceration). They should be brought to trial.

When a terror tunnel is dug from a Muslim village to a Jewish neighborhood, surely everyone in the village knows. The removed sand is more than what can fill a couple of litter boxes. When no one notifies the authorities, you may want to put them all on trial for abetting terror or failing to prevent mass murder, but you cannot carpet bomb the village.

Proportionality requires not targeting civilians or civilian structures, which would be war crimes anyway, even when the residents are enthusiastic supporters of Chamas. Immoral but unarmed supporters you cannot hurt.

In wars, mistakes and accidents happen. Those are not crimes. Minimizing civil casualties among the enemy goes a long way toward proportionality or ‘fair’ collateral damage. While all death is terrible, especially when caused by humans, there is a difference between an accident and murder.

In love and war, not all is allowed. The first to rule so were the Torah and Jewish Law. In a war, you can’t uproot fruit trees if you need wood, and not-fruit-bearing trees are around for use. That would be disproportional.

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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