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Hell On Earth:
See Mr Netanyahu Loll On The Beach





The saddest sight I’ve come across in a long, long time is an image that came to my attention the other day. It haunts me as powerfully as Dante’s description of hell. And Lady Macbeth’s desperate attempts at washing her hands. Or the terrible image of the children in Jude The Obscure.

The subject matter is not as profound, though. Yet, it has brought together for me more about life and our journey through it than the loftiest of passages from philosophers and soothsayers.

It is simply of Mr Netanyahu with his wife and child lolling on a beach in Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast of Israel.

And yet, it is not as simple and straightforward as that. It’s much, much more.

Mr Netanyahu and his family are huddled on the beach, under the magnificent Middle-Eastern sun. And hovering over them, in a circle and each a mere foot or two from them, are at least five tall, handsome, fierce, well-built, grim and determined young men. Taut and uncoiled, scowling at the horizon in every direction.

At first glance, it looks like a photo-shoot for Playgirl or Ms Magazine, or a page from the L.L. Bean catalogue.

It takes a few seconds before it hits you. The five men you can see -- it is obvious that they aren’t the only ones around, there are probably hundreds more in concentric circles with tanks and battle-ships and swat teams to back them up -- are part of a security detail.

And despite the danger that may or may not lurk around the corner, Mr Netanyahu and his loved ones appear to be trying to squeeze a few desperate moments of relaxation by pretending that they are alone and, at least for the day, all is well with the world.

The only thing I get from the image which is now seared on my brain, is that all is NOT well with Mr Netanyahu and those around him.

Here, you look for yourself. The image can be seen on the top right-hand corner of this page.

Nothing unusual per se about the presence of eagle-eyed security personnel guarding a dignitary such as a prime minister of a country, especially one which has been in a constant war-mode with its neighbours and its own citizens throughout its seven-decades-long existence.

What leaps out here, though, is the image of a self-created hell that follows this man even into his most personal and private moments -- a time and a pleasure that we normally live for, yearn for, die for, no matter what we do in, or with, our lives.

*   *   *   *   *

Frankly, I don’t feel a smidgen of sympathy for Mr Netanyahu, though he does look abjectly miserable.

Worse, actually.

I can’t imagine a worse hell on earth than this. Especially for Mr Netanyahu and the world he and his colleagues have created around them.

Imagine. He is the head of the government of one of the most powerful governments in the world -- powerful beyond proportion or fair share or earned dividends.

He stands as the head representative of a nation that has, within living memory, survived the worst tragedy that can be doled out to any community. And within a few decades, thriving and flourishing as well as any other community in the world. Or, even better.

It is a community that has, with the help of the world, been gifted the Promised Land which they have yearned for, for generations -- nay for millennia --  and finally attained, for the first time, in its full glory. What even Moses couldn’t deliver, they have now

Mr Netanyahu holds the reins of power on behalf of a people who wield more wealth than the rest of the world combined. And they ply it deftly and effectively to the point that even America, the world’s most powerful nation, caters to its needs … at the expense of her own.

So, I ask, why is this man and his people, how has this man and his people, then created this hell on earth for themselves, to the point that this is how they have to be if they ever want to loll on the beach with their loved ones?  

I don’t for a moment buy the argument that it is because of the Palestinians or the Muslim world who threaten or hound Israel. It is true, they do. But I‘ve never been one who blames the one who is driven wild by oppression and deprivation; I automatically turn to the one wielding the club and withholding the bread basket to find the answers.

If the one gone wild and mad bites you, your cries of victim hood cry hollow. Because YOU have contributed to him being wild and mad.

Not for a moment am I swayed by the slick apologists and their finely crafted obfuscations.    

You know, I have never blamed the Jews for the holocaust rained down upon them by the Nazis a mere 8 decades ago. How can you blame the victims?

Similarly, nor am I willing to blame the Palestinians for all the terrible things Mr Netanyahu and his people have rained down on them ever since they themselves, the Jews, have benefited from the world’s largesse in carving out an Israel for them, against the heaviest of odds.

The daily usurping of land, the atrocities and the murders, the refusal to even meet and negotiate, the sabotaged attempts at peace, the excesses and the taunts, the obscene flaunting of raw military might … nothing justifies them, especially at the hands of a people who themselves have suffered so much in the recent past. But no amount of victim-hood entitles one the right to commit tyranny.

I know that the Jews and Israelis believe in a just God.

I therefore don’t need to look further than this image on the beach to see His judgement. It symbolizes all that has gone wrong in Israel. In a single frame, it captures the fire and brimstone and locusts and pillars of fire that they have brought upon themselves -- in biblical measure, I should add -- by refusing to practice humility and compassion and decency, while enjoying the bounty of a generous God.

The God who granted a ‘promised land’ to a ’chosen people’ did not, however, surrender his untrammelled power to extract justice from them. He never gives a blank cheque. Nor did He give one this time around. He had never promised to turn a blind eye on those who behave badly.

So, Mr Netanyahu, enjoy the beach. I’m told you have expensive tastes, and love to delve in them, especially at the expense of the taxpayer.

But this is the limit of the enjoyment you’ll get from anything and everything. This is what you’ve earned for yourself.

And for your people.        

Remember: there is no greater hell than to be given all one desires and yet be denied the ability to enjoy any of it.

If you think I’m being too much of a Cassandra, look at the photo yourself. It leaps at you with the power of Michelangelo's Day of Judgement.

It is a metaphor. It says it all. What does it say to you?

February 19, 2015


Conversation about this article

1: Kenneth Dooley (USA), February 19, 2015, 8:54 AM.

The image on the beach is so-o-o biblical. The Bible does refer to the demons who guard Satan. If these guys had been posing for a production of Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus", they couldn't have done a better job!

2: Amar J. Singh (New York, USA), February 19, 2015, 10:23 AM.

Jews around the world are in distress, wondering if they'll have to move to Israel. There's only one solution to this dilemma: they commit themselves to a fair and just solution to the mess in the Middle-East. Otherwise, they'll be left with one option. But what option? To go to a land where they fear extinction at the hands of the very neighbors they are in open conflict with?

3: Jagjit Singh (Albany, New York, USA), February 19, 2015, 1:50 PM.

The New York Times reports today: "President Obama, at a summit meeting on extremism, called on nations around the world to expand freedom, religious tolerance and peaceful dialogue as they struggle to combat a spate of terrorism." That's a breath of fresh air: the mere recognition that terrorism is not created in a vacuum. This is a first, baby step ...

4: Ranjana Singh (Los Angeles, California, USA), February 19, 2015, 5:58 PM.

All we're doing today, everywhere, is knee-jerk reacting ... and as a result things only keep on getting worse. Until and unless we start being honest with ourselves and speak truth to power, we're merely contributing to digging humanity deeper into a hole. It's getting darker by the day.

5: Hardev Singh  (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), February 19, 2015, 9:38 PM.

Pretty strong language and imagery for a serious, albeit deserving indictment. A victimized people do not need to create their own victims. While deserving compassion, they need to be compassionate also. Otherwise, they create their own alienation.

6: Dr Birinder Singh Ahluwalia (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), February 20, 2015, 12:01 PM.

Since George W Bush's, Dick Cheney's and Donald Rumsfeld's and Condee Rice's decision (which they blamed on their faulty intelligence) to wage war in the Middle East, things have not been the same and I think the world, sadly, is now a less safe place than pre-2001. It is going to take more than President Obama's brilliant and thoughtful leadership to usher in an era of significant peace and stability on our beautiful planet in the coming days (for the sake and future of our children and grandchildren). I am glad, however, that President Obama has given humanity a pretty good start in the correct direction and hopefully many world leaders (including the Canadian leadership which so far has been MIA on the world stage on many important issues) will take on the baton in the near future to build on the legacy of President Obama's foreign policy initiatives to end conflicts and destroy terrorism around the world, including advocating and assisting both Israelis and Palestinians to agree on a two state solution (to live in harmony side by side) as proposed and supported by President Obama, stoppage of illegal settlements by Israel, etc. I know the current leader of Israel, Mr Netanyahu, is a brilliant strategist and will pay heed to what is best for his people and the future of his country. But he needs to remember: just as our hearts bleed for the terrible atrocities suffered by the Jews at the hands of the Nazis, our hearts bleed no less for all other peoples who suffer similarly at the hands of their respective oppressors.

7: Kaala Singh (Punjab), February 21, 2015, 12:56 PM.

Every nation has to have a certain amount of land which gives them some "strategic depth" and defensible borders. If the surrounding Arab countries had not attacked Israel in 1967 and again in 1973, there would have been no need for Israel to occupy Palestinian territories. Just as America could not feel safe with Russia controlling Alaska and Canada got alarmed with the purported Russian presence in its Arctic territories, despite both being huge countries. Israel being a very small country would not feel safe if it were to surrender all of the Palestinian land.

8: Harsharan Kaur (Florida, USA), February 21, 2015, 1:26 PM.

So, how do you get to the next step, Kaala Singh ji? Why should Israel have the right to secure itself at the expense of the Palestinians? Just because it has the might? Don't you also need right? If it is important to the Israelis, they have to learn to behave like civilized people and find ways of sorting things out with its neighbours, whether they be the Palestinians who own the land that Israel would like to have, or the other nations who are in conflict with Israel. The solution is NOT in Israel occupying Palestinian land because "we need it for our protection"! No wonder we have endless war in the region, and will continue to do so, unless ...

9: Kaala Singh (Punjab), February 22, 2015, 2:54 AM.

@8: Harsharan Kaur ji - During the partition of Punjab and British India in 1947, the British offered Sikhs a well deserved separate homeland and to make it viable even offered a seaport which would have involved giving territories that belonged to other ethnic groups and in return Sikhs were required to surrender some land elsewhere. If this had happened - what would we have called this scenario as it would have inevitably led to coflict? The bottom line is, whenever new nations are created, land adjustments have to be done to make them viable. Going by your definition of land occupation and the ensuing conflict, there is no nation in the world which has not occupied land belonging to others - why single out Israel. It should be the responsibility of all nations (territorial and non-territorial) to avoid conflict with greater understanding and co-operation.

10: Aryeh Leib Lerner (Israel), February 22, 2015, 2:04 PM.

Thank you, Kaala ji. You've said it so much better than I could have.

11: Bikram Singh (New York, USA), February 22, 2015, 5:40 PM.

Kaala Singh's explanation (and Aryeh Leib Lerner's endorsement of it), if it indeed holds water, then opens up a whole can of worms. If Israel is allowed to run roughshod over its neighbours' rights merely because it secures its own interests, then surely the neighbours have the same right to secure their own. Just because the latter's plans are harmful to Israel's interests, by itself, doesn't make Israel's mischief legitimate, and the other an act of terrorism. What the two of you have done is justified the anarchy that exists in the Middle-East today. I have a feeling that both of you are influenced by the fact that Israel is militarily more powerful, and by the fact that Western powers have backed it financially and otherwise, and the fact that the Palestinians have to fight through crude methods and appear to be primitive. That doesn't make one right and the other wrong, because Might never creates Right, only a temporary advantage. Your argument is a slippery slope that leads to self-destruction. The bottom line: there is NO justification for Israel's flouting of international law. The law is the law. Just because others have done it or may have considered similar options doesn't make it right.

12: Shardha Kaur (San Jose, California, USA), February 22, 2015, 6:28 PM.

Bikram Singh has hit the nail on the head. Israel, financed and armed by the West, has proved itself to be a mere puppet. Understandably, whether right or wrong, it is therefore seen by the rest of the Middle East as a trojan horse. So, why are we surprised that just as Israel is anxious to secure itself, so do the countries around it. Naturally, their interests directly oppose each other, if conflict is the chosen route instead of diplomacy. If the other parties don't have access to the military hardware that Israel does and have to resort to cruder methods, how does that make one the 'good guys' and the others the 'bad guys'? We in America need to stay above the fray and be firm and courageous enough to reject Israel's distortions, and do the right thing if we are ever to help bring peace in the world. President Obama is on the right track.

13: Rakesh Malhotra (Haryana, India), February 22, 2015, 8:19 PM.

The photo sent shudders down my spine. No doubt at all, there's a God up there who doles out justice in his own, wonderful ways.

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See Mr Netanyahu Loll On The Beach"

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