Netanyahu's war crimes come to light as #ShalomBollywood selfie backfires

Netanyahu's war crimes come to light as #ShalomBollywood selfie backfires
Many were angry at Bollywood's normalisation of the Israeli government, which has been accused of carrying out apartheid policies, breaking international law and besieging nearly two million people.
2 min read
19 Jan, 2018
Netanyahu's #ShalomBollywood selfie heavily backfired after people called him out on his crimes [Twitter]
India’s Bollywood has come under fire for embracing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The logic behind the Hindi language film industry embracing someone who is not only deemed to many around the world as a “war criminal”, but someone who may face criminal charges at home for corruption seemed unfathomable to many.

During Netanyahu’s official visit to India, he attempted to woo the Indian crowd by appealing to their popular culture and appear as a friendly ambassador to his state whose policies do not break international law by building settlements in the West Bank and partaking in the besiegement of nearly two million people in the Gaza Strip.

"We believe in India-Israel relationship. One of the most viral pictures occurred at the Oscars a few years ago. I'd like the Bollywood stars to join me for a selfie so a few hundred million Indians and Israelis can see this phenomenal friendship. Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra, Jai Israel!" Netanyahu said.

He then posted the selfie on his Twitter account, wondering if it would become more famous than the Ellen Oscar selfie, which got more than three million retweets and two million likes.

The selfie had mixed reactions, with Israel apologists, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embracing the selfie as something that is “wonderful” and a cause for celebration.

But the main consensus was anger and sheer disgust at what the selfie to many represents: the normalisation of an apartheid regime.

Netanyahu's question on whether his Bollywood selfie would be as iconic as Ellen's selfie was answered, reminding him of his "place in history" as someone who once promised to wipe out any possibility for Palestinian statehood during his re-election campaign.

Netanyahu also admitted that no government has done more than his own to expand illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.

But for others, this endorsement of Netanyahu in the Indian entertainment industry seemed fitting, considering New Delhi's strong relations with Tel Aviv, including reaching an arms deal with India worth $630 million last year.