What, WikiLeaks? The attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists? The hijackings of 11 September 2001? Pearl Harbour? Global warming?
No. This time, it is something far more sinister that Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad is accused of: The Egyptian coast on the Red Sea has been plagued by shark attacks. In
one attack, a German tourist was killed.
How would authorities around the world react? They’d be concerned for swimmers’ and divers’ safety, they would close off beaches, they would go on boat patrols, they would maybe hunt for sharks (although that aggressive approach might be an over-reaction from an ecological point of view). – Not so in Egypt where the first instinct in any crisis is to resort to anti-Israeli reflexes: The governor of South Sinai, Muhammad Abdel Fadil Shousha, is quoted as saying: “What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark [in the sea] to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question, but it needs time to confirm.”
It speaks volumes about Egyptian society when government officials can utter such obvious nonsense and hope to find sympathetic listeners. The ludicrous theory was promptly spread by Egyptian state television. – Nobody seems to have taken into account that Israel has no interested in harming Egyptian tourism (many Israelis holiday in Sinai), that Israel shares the Red Sea coast at Eilat and would thus be exposed to the same sharks, and that the main threat to tourism is Egyptian home-grown terrorism.
To put this silly episode into a more serious context, it is symptomatic of Arab and/or Muslim anti-Israeli reflexes that I assume stem from a deeply rooted inferiority complex. Israel’s neighbours just cannot come to terms with the fact that this small country with a population of only 7 million and no natural resources has one of the most successful economies in the Middle East and a science record that would make anyone proud, and all of this while being surrounded by hostile countries that have repeatedly attacked Israel. – If Egyptians concentrate on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories instead of education and science, it will be centuries, not decades until they catch up.