When we look at the behaviour of Israel’s regime and its supporters, it has some similarities to the cognitive bias what is called the Dunning-Kruger effect after professors David Dunning and Justin Kruger, who did pioneer work on it in 1999 while at the Cornell University.
The Dunning-Kruger effect describes people who perform poorly in a particular subject and are often incapable of recognizing their own limits. Popularized, it’s often given the form “Incompetent people who think themselves competent”.
These subjects think they perform better than they do, they underestimate the capabilities and performance of others, which altogether gives them a sense of false self-confidence, which strengthens their belief in themselves and this leads them to make more mistakes.
This doesn’t mean that the people to whom the Dunning-Kruger effect refers to have low intelligence; their behaviour might be, but they themselves are not, ‘stupid’. Everyone has weaknesses they are incapable of noticing or admitting, and thus taking into account, which causes problems to them and others.
If you think you are doing better than you are, if you think others are doing worse than they are, then you will end up overestimating your own current situation and what you can achieve in future. The seeds of your future failure are sown by your inability to construct a realistic view of your current situation and your own ability to handle it.
DUNNING-KREGER EFFECT AND ISRAEL
We propose that the Dunning-Kreger effect can be applied to look at the behaviour of the leaders of Israel’s regime, which itself might be considered a kind of gestalt, and its supporters.
The current drive to annexation and permanent Apartheid by Israel’s regime shows many symptoms of the Dunning-Kruger effect. All words of warning are pushed aside, whether external or internal, and a vision of permanent 21st century Apartheid is seen as sustainabe and without real challenges.
As Israel has gotten away with war crimes and human rights violations for soon 72 years, all the time protected by shifting superpower backing, this has bred a belief that all the ‘successes’ in ethnic cleansing, occupation and land-theft are down to Israel’s superiority over Palestinians and its other neighbours.
To the Israeli elite and most of its majority population, Israel’s success is not down to super-power backing, 150 billion dollars in aid from the US alone and political protection in international areas by US and other allies, but instead it’s down to Israel just being better in everything because of its own, superior nature. Israel is not only more powerful, but its populace and leaders more intelligent and capable.
This is combined in the Israeli psyche with the idea that past success can only lead to more success, and that failures on the part of Israel’s oppressed victims – with the odds stacked against them – can only lead to more failures and defeat on their part. The past is a map of the future, and all the warning Cassandras can be dismissed.
This, identifying a false pattern or a pattern that can’t be sustained endlessly, is also connected to the Dunning-Kruger effect, strengthening the person’s false belief in their own competence. This mentally locks them into a behaviour which in the end can be self-destructive.
Incompetence backed by overwhelming brutality can seem like success for a long period of time, especially when the incompetent brute will be protected from consequences of (and thus finding out) their own incompetence by powerful backers. In this case, the current iteration of those backers, the Trump administration, is itself a troupe full of persons exemplifying the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Can you now see how Israel’s behaviour brings to mind the people that Dunning-Kruger effect describes? Israel overestimates the stremgth of its own current situation and its ability to sustain the current reality of oppression and segregation, while it underestimates the Palestinians and the possibility of change in the attitudes and behavour of rest of the world.
As a Zionist society Israel has successfully convinced itself that the only thing ever needed is more of the same: Occupation, illegal colony building and segregation.
THE DUSTBIN OF HISTORY
Israel is little different from a sheltered, at best a mediocre progeny of a wealthy, powerful family, whose protective relatives ease his way in the world while obstructing those who stand on his way. He will end up seeing himself as an eminently successful person, who has earned his station thanks to his superiority to those who he has pushed aside.
He will believe that before him awaits only more success, and that nothing, and no one can stand on his way. This sets him apart from the truly competent people who tend to underestimate themselves and overestimate others’ capabilities. As a human being he will look like Donald Trump or Jared Kushner, and as a political entity like Israel.
But what happens when the protective shell around him, constructed by his powerful protectors, fails? What happens when he has to face the challenges unaided, just depending on his own real, and not exaggerated, abilities?
The Dunning-Kruger effect proposes that the more people learn about their real circumstances, the better they eventually are responding to the challenges they face. Israel has been able to avoid this collision with facts, but eventually the moment comes when the Potemkin’s Facades erected with the help of the ‘West’ will fall away.
Then the reality bites in, and the person or state has to rapidly come into terms with the reality around them and adjust to it – or face the dustbin of history. Nothing indicates that Israel is capable of the former.