Friday, December 22, 2017

Shame: my country joined the anti-Semitic orgy

A UN resolution has just voted a resolution that condemns the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and calls for this decision to be renounced. The BBC has published a list of countries that voted against, abstained, and voted for the resolution, respectively. Nine countries voted against, 35 abstained, 128 voted in favor. Unfortunately, Bulgaria is among the latter. Shame!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Europe should recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Ever since the foundation of the State of Israel, its authorities and citizens consider Jerusalem as their capital, while other countries use Tel Aviv as interim capital so that not to anger Arabs, some of whom have claims on Jerusalem.

In the distant 1995, the US Congress voted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital and ordering the US Embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since then, three US Presidents have had their terms and none of them dared to implement the act. It needed to wait for Donald Trump to be implemented. He is widely regarded as crazy, and I dislike him, mostly because of his pro-Russian positions, but this act of him shows that even crazy rulers have their role in society.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appealed to Europe to follow the American example, but European leaders refuse, at least for now. I think that they should absolutely support Israel and its right to name its capital. Especially after it was European countries that carried out the Holocaust. Unfortunately, it seems easier for the Europeans to shed crocodile tears for the Jews perished in the Holocaust than to support the surviving Jews and their state.

My prognosis is that Europeans will continue to make fools of themselves for some time, maybe several years, and then will quietly start to move their embassies to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Palestinian opponents of Israel are rioting and have already produced some victims. It is notable that the most violent protests are in Gaza, where there seems to be no other industry. In contrast, Arab residents of East Jerusalem are peaceful. The quote below is from an Atlantic report by Emma Green:

"Jerusalem—the political and geographical center of the debate—stayed relatively quiet... Palestinians in East Jerusalem have integrated with Israelis to a significant extent; they depend on Israel and its tourists for their livelihoods, so there’s a lot at stake if they decide to protest or strike... For his part, Abu Madhi says he wishes the Israeli government would make East Jerusalem a little nicer. “You’ve been to Tel Aviv sometimes?” he asked me. “Clean country, high-speed world, green trees.” He pointed to the Damascus Gate area. “Why shouldn’t we have here a garden, and here a basketball court? This thing that I prefer, the government could do.”... Eventually, a man brought a tarp out to the area near the Damascus Gate for the next round of prayers. More than 60 men lined up before the Old City, facing a row of cameras, a line of Israeli soldiers just behind them. This was the most peaceful form of protest—and the most normal thing in the world.... “Just one hour, and you’re going to see everything’s okay,” Abu Madhi said. “You’re going to see an Arabic man and a Jewish man sitting here.”"

Maybe now, as a resident of a capital gaining international recognition, Mr. Madhi has a higher chance to see new gardens and sport facilities.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Guardian feeds anti-Muslim stereotypes

Browsing the Yahoo!News, I have just found a Guardian article titled Trump’s error on Jerusalem is a disaster for the Arab world … and the US too, by Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University. It is about the decision of US president Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital and to move the US embassy there. (The decision was actually made into a law by the Congress back in 1995, but three consecutive US presidents were too afraid to implement it. I do not like Trump, but I give him credit for this act.)

Briefly, Prof. Khalidi states that Trump's act was an error because it favored Israel and made Palestinians unhappy. He condemns the decision as a crushing blow to the peace process, while admitting that the peace process has been "at death's door" since 2014. He also states that "few [Palestinians] want a return to violence", though his entire text is a thinly veiled threat of long-lasting, "impossible to predict" violence. If you have time to waste, read it in entirety. Now, I'd prefer to discuss stereotyping.

All people stereotype and are stereotyped. This is how human brain works. And it works this way because stereotyping is, and has always been, a survival strategy. However, while it may be very useful for individuals and in the short run, stereotyping harms the long-term interests of whole societies. For example, here in Bulgaria we have a minority that performs more than its fair share of thefts. When members of said minority are on a bus or a tram, everybody, no matter how progressive, clutches their belongings. The stereotype in question, like most other stereotype, is concentrated experience and will die out only when the minority stops regarding other people's property as a free resource. In the meantime, however, I think it is counterproductive to talk too much publicly about thefts by this minority, because this will feed the stereotype to expand beyond its healthy degree and will hurt the employment of minority members, leaving them in a vicious circle with no subsistence other than thefts and welfare. (This is why I am reluctant even to name the minority; if you are European, you know perfectly well whom I mean, and if you are not, please consider my example hypothetical.) If you are a member of a stereotyped group, I think that, instead of attacking the stereotypers, you should address first those members of your own group who with their behavior have caused the stereotyping in the first place, and then those public forums that make a bad situation worse by needlessly feeding the stereotype.

Muslims are stereotyped as being anti-Semitic. Despite the presence of countless Muslims and whole Muslim communities (such as the Bulgarian Muslims) who do not harbor any anti-Semitism, this stereotype, like most others, is based on facts. It is so entrenched and normalized that even sophisticated people like Prof. Khalidi make no attempt to hide it. The big question is, why does the respectable Guardian, which claims (e.g. here) to stand against the "Islamophobia", publish a text that can only feed anti-Muslim stereotypes? I think that, if I were a Muslim, I'd be outraged by this. I would call Prof. Khalidi names and would write to the Guardian.