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

They claim harassment, he claims libel, then meanwhile, what should we remember?

I don’t want to go too much into the particulars of the latest Israeli case. The accused, however, has admitted in court papers: “What I wrote was wrong. I take responsibility for it. But I am not some dangerous monster who is out there hurting women and I won’t be engaging in any ‘friendly’ communication with any women other than my wife.” Let me just say that no one claimed that sex offenders must impress as monsters. Also, the law doesn’t demand any plaintive to prove that the accused was sub-human.

Rather, I want to write generally, how to take these stalemates. Ignore the accusations? Ignore the defense? Stay torn or suspend one’s judgment?

First of all, Jewish Law doesn’t have a lot of trust in the moral compass of men when it comes to sexuality. There are very strict rules about being secluded with someone of the opposite sex. If one keeps these guidelines, it’s very hard to go wrong or get accused of sexual harassment. So, if an Orthodox Jew is accused, he has most likely violated Jewish Law.

Typical serial abusers pick on the socially weak individuals while cultivating an excellent name with the strong persons. People with few or no close supporting family, with a history of mental health problems, poor — who’s going to believe them over him, the big shot?! So, all the supportive testimonies of successful women/children/men mean nothing.

My rabbi says: “I only see women for counseling when my wife is home and I keep the door open. One complaint by one woman can destroy your good name forever, even if you did nothing wrong.”

There are not a lot of false claims of abuse except by abusers. Abusers also abuse the law — what a surprise?! So, someone who sues people who claim he abused them is not doing his good name any favor. This especially when there are multiple accusations. Yet, in the case of celebrities or famous people, you can’t just know for sure that the accusers are right. Though generally, they are. Even if it would take decades to be confirmed.

But, I once had an employer who was not only a total fake and hypocrite, but also a bully. Soon enough, he claimed I was not doing my work well and he wanted to fire me. I was still in my naive phase, so I thought to win this dispute because he was lying and I spoke the truth. He then claimed that if I wouldn’t quit, his secretary would file a complaint (that obviously he had written) that I sexually harassed her. I was so stupid to start laughing very loudly. He then changed the claim that she had felt intimidated by my height. (I never talked to her.) That was the moment I realized I needed to quit. So I know that false accusations happen.

I mentioned before that every denial of abuse, once the denier is found guilty, should add to the sentence. Because, currently, when an accuser is wealthy, he can play all kinds of legal games without any risks.

There are three reasons why I’d give accusers some benefit of the doubt.

2. It takes enormous courage to admit having been victimized. It takes a lot of emotional work to turn a loss into a victory, to blame the culprit only.

2. Fans of famous ones and other cruel people, at accusations often start trashing and even threatening the accusers.

3. The abuser often looks good, strong, collected, dignified. The accusers often look confused, emotional. It’s way too easy to disbelieve the latter.

Also, no one would falsely make accusations without a motive. Accusing or suing accusers, though, would hand them a motive were they lacking one.

I think that suspending one’s judgment is too wishy-washy. With sexual complaints, I would say: guilty until proven innocent, and even then not. Not to condemn the accused but rather, but to honor the accusers.

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, lehavdil 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, LGBTQIA, 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 quite 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 500th 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. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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