Lately, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been campaigning to win a referendum that would open up his way to grab more powers. He has jailed (and abused) countless military, police, journalists, bloggers, etc. with the excuse of a botched coup.
Was this a Marinus van Der Lubbe style attack (planted by the Turkish Government) or a real attempt to overthrow democracy? I don’t know, but by reducing Free Speech, the Turkish president shows to be on the side of dictatorship – that’s for sure.
His campaign has led to confrontations with the governments of German and The Netherlands.
This all has intensified the trouble in Turkey’s long-standing strained relationship with Europe.
Subsequently, he called the Germans and the Dutch: Nazi’s, fascists and the like. As a proud Jew, whose four grandparents were gassed in Auschwitz, I feel a need to stand up for Germany against this foul slander, for two reasons.
Much as confronting anti-Semitism should not be left to the Jews (and actually any oppression should be interrupted by allies rather than the targeted oppressed themselves), here too it behooves non-Germans to speak out against these scandalous words, and especially Jews.
If there is one people in the world that collectively repented its troubled past then it’s the German People. Therefore, to call them Nazi’s is way beyond the pale. One doesn’t bring up misdeeds that went before to people who have admitted, acknowledged, apologized for and disavowed former times, paid reparation and are showing great solidarity and affection with the main wronged party – in this case the Jewish People and Israel, the Jewish State. Then to still rake up the past is so low that it should only damage the speaker’s reputation.
A second reason to forcefully denounce the insults by the Turkish leader is that it’s Turkey itself that failed to address genocide on its own soil in a recent past, 101 years ago. It has never admitted, acknowledged, apologized, disavowed, paid reparation for or showed any solidarity or affection with the wronged party – in this case the Armenian People.
Israeli school children learn that the Armenian Genocide opened the door to the Holocaust. When people close to Hitler said that he would never get away with murdering all the Jews, he reportedly asked rhetorically: Whoever still speaks about the Turkish genocide of the Armenians?
Germany is showing the whole world (Turkey, are you paying attention?) that to acknowledge and reject a terrible past and make a clean sweep are not degrading, but rather the only way to stand tall and live well.
Yes, Erdogan’s oversized ego and his thin skin make him easily feel hurt when he is opposed or criticized, which he frequently perceives as insulting, inside or outside of Turkey, leading to a legendary number of court cases supposedly to protect his honor. (He is very careful not to disturb the lucrative trade between The Netherlands and Turkey.) That does not give license to insult.
Clearly, the rhetoric of the Turkish strongman is only meant for internal consumption. He does not care about the morality of Germans. Rather, he aims to collect votes of Turks who like to support a leader tickling their nationalistic pride bone.
However, even if his verbal abuse is only meant to find favor with his voters, these words are unacceptable and must be widely rejected. Such a rejection shows how abject unbridled nationalism is, how unfit Turkey presently is to join Europe, and that Germany has friends that stand by her.
One could think how to help Turkey not move further away from modernity. It used to be such a nice example of a marriage between Islam and democracy. For starters, a distinction should be made between (still) innocent Turks and Turkish despots. (As soon as a Turkish majority has voted for Erdogan’s absolute reign, it will be as guilty as the Germans who voted Hitler into power.) But in any case, insulting Germans cannot be tolerated. Duly noted!
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. 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. *
As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. *
If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: https://youtu.be/QMPp6h6r72M *
To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 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, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. *
Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, 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 who don't deserve that. 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), 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. *
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. *
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. 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, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and 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. *
He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to 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. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. *
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, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. 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 being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. *
His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance 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: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AMoshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&s=relevancerank&text=Moshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1