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

Towards defining hate crime and terrorism

The below will not be pretty. No gory details but neither a rosy picture. And, we’ll talk in generalities. Exceptions exist — to confirm the rules.

The Randomness of Terrorism and Hate Crimes

The media have called the murder of the Paris teacher who allegedly showed his students caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed ‘terrorism.’ If to the murderer he symbolized those despicable infidels, also a hate crime. The murderer sent a picture to the French president, so, he was a terrorist.

But I hesitate to qualify that as terrorism. Terrorism has an element of randomness in it. Wanting to kill [any] Jew, American, etc. Murder of the Israeli Olympic athletes was terrorism. It didn’t matter who they were. They were murdered as symbols of all Jewish Israelis, who should all die.

But, executing a specific person is plain murder. It can still be a hate crime. You hate your neighbor, who is always so friendly to you, because she is a Jew, so you kill her. Murder and a hate crime but not terrorism. Unless his murder is part of a plan (alone or with others) to kill some more Jews.

Not every murder is a hate crime. Surely, murder is seldom a labor of love. Even a ‘crime passionelle,’ to kill someone in an attack of jealousy, is not a love crime. But to be a hate crime, the hate must be for a whole group. Again this element of randomness.

Rape of a random woman. You can safely say that the rapist hates all women or all women who look like that. No questions asked: hate crime and terrorism. Because of men like that, all women are less safe.

Political extremists who see everyone else as the enemy. Terrorists.

Is it Really so Personal?

A stranger killing the head of government. It is never personal. He or she is a symbol of the state and thereby that is always terrorism. Even if the murderer would say: But he specifically was a danger to the country.

Murder of a spouse. I would say that it’s definitely not plain murder. These men are violent, see their spouses as their property, and their abuse is not caused by the relationship. They hate all sensitive and normal women. (The bulldozers they respect.) Although it happened specifically to his wife, it’s an assault on all partnered women: terrorism and a hate crime.

Honor killings. Murders of specific young women and gay men. The same possessiveness as in the previous example of the wife torturer. It is an assault on all young people who want to go a different way than the family tradition. It is terrorism and a hate crime—not murder alone.

Woman kills her abusive husband who promised her paradise but gave her hell, ruined her life. She doesn’t hate all men. She’s not making all men scared of their wives. If we’re lucky, all abusive men get scared and divorce their wives the same week. No terrorism and no hate crime. Plain murder.

A woman who hates all men can be nasty and even try to kill her husband or try to move him to suicide. Very hurtful. If she kills: a murderer. But not a terrorist. Doesn’t make all men cringe. Doesn’t convey that any woman can be dangerous. Crazy ones may exist. But I would consider calling it a hate crime because she would terrorize any man she’d marry.

Uncomfortable stuff, no?

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. * 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.
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