An Israel hater is comforted by an Israeli invention
It’s more than delicious irony.
One Mr. Robert-Willem van Norren of Amsterdam braves all kinds of weather, not to mention his own disability, to demonstrate against Israel — to promote the boycott of, divestment from and sanction of Israel (BDS). Trouble is, in order to do this, Mr. van Norren needs to sit for hours on end on a mobility scooter. It is not only physically tough but emotionally wrenching to be a really dedicated hater of Israel, what with all that continuous waving of anti-Israel posters and Palestinian flags in Amsterdam’s Dam Square — three times a week, no less.
And . . . the terrible moral bind! Back to that scooter. Since Mr. van Norren’s faux Harley Davidson didn’t do the trick, this most well known anti-Israel activist in all of the Netherlands had to switch to a new scooter, one made in Israel!
Here he is, avidly displaying an Israeli flag with a cockroach or a swastika over the Star of David, sitting on a scooter — the Breeze S3 model of the Kalnoit brand, to be exact — designed and assembled in, of all places, a kibbutz in the Jordan Valley; an Israeli farm, placed firmly on what Mr. van Norren condemns as occupied Palestinian territory. Yes, it’s really tough these days to be anti-Israel.
But it’s far more than ironic. It’s utter blindness. Or willful ignorance. Or sheer animus. Take your pick. For while the anti-Israel crowd is busy condemning Israel for being inhumane, Israel is producing medicines and devices (such as mobility scooters) that humanely soothe the lives of countless people around the world. While the anti-Israel crowd is reflexively condemning Israel for the bitter poverty in Gaza, Israel is boosting food production around the world via drip-irrigation technology. While the likes of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who calls attention to her identity as a Muslim, sees the “evil doings” of Israel, Israel is extending aid to Muslims hounded by Syria and saving the Muslims of Jordan from water shortages.
When Mr. van Norren decorates his Israeli-made scooter with stickers reading “free Palestine, boycott Israel,” one wonders: Is this blindness? Hypocrisy? Selfishness? Or a silent concession to reality: Israel, while stuck with neighbors who want it dead, is doing beautiful things around the world, even for the likes of enemies such as Mr. van Norren.
One recalls the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir’s bon mot: We can forgive the Arabs for killing us, but cannot forgive them for making us kill them. Rather than focus its energies on the moral bind in which Israel’s enemies place it, Israel focuses on improving the lot of people well beyond its short borders. If Mr. van Norren has a better mobility scooter, that’s just fine with Israel, which is not primarily focused on its enemies, the vast Israeli investment in military hardware and personnel notwithstanding.
Not that the discovery of the origin of Mr. van Norren’s mobility scooter did not delight Holland’s Israel supporters. While Mr. van Norren did not reply to questions on the issue, Michael Jacobs, a pro-Israel activist who regularly faces off with van Norren and other anti-Israel activists on the Dam, rejoiced in making the discovery. He went out of his way to have it confirmed by the importer of the Kalnoit mobility scooter to the Netherlands. We have here an instance of reverse schadenfreude: rejoicing not over another’s suffering per se, but over another’s comfort-induced suffering!
As JTA further reports, Hidde J. van Koningsveld, who heads the CiJo pro-Israel group, called the discovery of the origin of Mr. van Norren’s scooter a “fun fact” and a “#BDSFail” on Twitter.
He noted that van Norren’s fellow anti-Israel activist, Simon Vrouwe, was recently photographed taking a break from his own Israel protesting to grab a bite at the Maoz falafel shop near the Dam, which is part of a chain started by the Israel-born Dutch businessman Dov Melo.
Vrouwe was wearing a vest reading “boycott Israel” while piling on the Israel-made pickles that Maoz is known for.