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

Who is human? Are we humane?

Forget about the question of who is a Jew. From the country where pets can get a funeral, the question is asked if non-humans are our equals.

Reportedly, an animal rights group claimed a zoo elephant deserved some of the same rights as humans and should be freed. The judge refused.

What comes next? To find meat-eaters cannibals? As a vegan, I say no.

The claim we can make, though, is that when we treat animals poorly or raise them to kill and eat them, that seems to train us to be cruel. Yet, of course, that is not as bad as killing for fun and entertainment as hunting. A ‘sport’ obligatory on royalty, to acquire enough cruelty to elevate oneself above the rabble and enrich oneself among a starving People. Ruthless individuals are often reported as children to have been cruel to animals.

Now YouTube shows us all the animals in the world in their natural habitat, zoos become kind of outdated places. Tel Aviv has a safari park—I never visited but that sounds more humane. Or a petting zoo. NB: Not the animals deserve to be treated humanely; we should act only humanely.

Speaking of which, Israel just launched a 10-year reform that, among other things, regulates the gradual transition from crammed cages and chicken coops to cage-free, spacious coops for the egg layers. This certainly fits a People striving (told) to be kind (Avot 1:2). Yet, there is a giant silent chick sitting in the middle of the room. Male chicks are mass murdered, often inhumanely, like gassed, milled alive into dog food, or thrown out and left to die. How nice their sisters will get a better life, but what about them?

So, we should not destroy trees for fun. Not because they have feelings too, but we have—I hope. If we must chop down trees, we should regret it, marveling at their majesty. I grew up in a forest.

Before harvesting and preparing medicinal plants, traditional Hawaiian healers ask them for permission and thank them for the medicines.

The first reason not to murder is not even that it leaves others dead. Rather, it makes us cruel. Like we shouldn’t steal, firstly not because it is dishonest and unjust, but because it makes us into thieves.

A second new candidate for human rights is computers. Are they hurting when we unplug or replace them? They seem smart. Aren’t they aware?

What’s next?

Cars are animals because they move too? Paintings are alive because they delight too? Garbage equals protected landscape since it’s inanimate too?

One of the roots of such silly ideas is the Western concept of equal rights. This obsession with our entitlement trains us to be selfish brats. Yet, the Jewish Tradition promotes us having equal obligations. Ideally, this gives the same end results but without fostering us into being spoiled egos.

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. 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 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 1500 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: 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. * 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.
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