Michael K. Smith
Moshe Yatom, a prominent Israeli psychiatrist who successfully cured the most extreme forms of mental illness throughout a distinguished career, was found dead at his home in Tel Aviv yesterday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A suicide note at his side explained that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been his patient for the last nine years, had “sucked the life right out of me.”
“I can’t take it anymore,” wrote Yatom. “Robbery is redemption, apartheid is freedom, peace activists are terrorists, murder is self-defense, piracy is legality, Palestinians are Jordanians, annexation is liberation, there’s no end to his contradictions. Freud promised rationality would reign in the instinctual passions, but he never met Bibi Netanyahu. This guy would say Gandhi invented brass knuckes.”
Psychiatrists are familiar with the human tendency to massage the truth to avoid confronting emotionally troubling material, but Yatom was apparently stunned at what he called the “waterfall of lies” gushing from his most illustrious patient. His personal diary details the steady disintegration of his once invincible personality under the barrage of self-serving rationalizations put forth by Netanyahu.
“I’m completely shocked,” said neighbor Yossi Bechor, whose family regularly vacationed with Yatom’s family. “Moshe was the epitome of the fully-integrated personality and had cured dozens of schizophrenics before beginning work on Bibi. There was no outward indication that his case was any different from the others.”
But it was. Yatom grew increasingly depressed at his complete lack of progress in getting the Prime Minister to acknowledge reality, and he eventually suffered a series of strokes when attempting to grasp Netanyahu’s thinking, which he characterized in one diary entry as “a black hole of self-contradiction.”
The first of Yatom’s strokes occurred when Netanyahu offered his opinion that the 911 attacks on Washington and New York “were good.” The second followed a session in which Netanyahu insisted that Iran and Nazi Germany were identical. And the third occurred after the Prime Minister declared Iran’s nuclear energy program was a “flying gas chamber,” and that all Jews everywhere “lived permanently in Auschwitz.” Yatom’s efforts to calm Netanyahu’s hysteria were extremely taxing emotionally and routinely ended in failure. “The alibi is always the same with him,” complained another diary entry. “The Jews are on the verge of annihilation at the hands of the racist goyim and the only way to save the day is to carry out one final massacre.”
Yatom was apparently working on converting his diary into a book about the Netanyahu case. Several chapters of an unfinished manuscript, entitled “Psychotic On Steroids,” were found in his study. The excerpt below offers a rare glimpse at the inner workings of a Prime Minister’s mind, at the same time as it reveals the daunting challenge Yatom faced in seeking to guide it to rationality:
Monday, March 8
“Bibi came by at three for his afternoon session. At four he refused to leave and claimed my house was actually his. Then he locked me in the basement overnight while he lavishly entertained his friends upstairs. When I tried to escape, he called me a terrorist and put me in shackles. I begged for mercy, but he said he could hardly grant it to someone who didn’t even exist.”
-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" and "The Madness of King George," from Common Courage Press.
My article is in no sense "dirty propaganda." I sincerely believe that Benjamin Netanyahu is capable of being cured and deeply regret that Yatom blew his brains out as soon as he fully understood him, as any decent psychiatrist would undoubtedly have felt compelled to do.
Let us hope that in the future psychiatrists of stronger mettle are found, so that doublethink can at last be cured.