My Antiwar.com column last week dealt with the decision at the European Court of Human Rights that the Dayton Constitution discriminates against minorities in Bosnia, and I also had a live guest appearance on RT about the story as well.
Not surprisingly, I said the same thing in both venues: yes, the Constitution shortchanges Bosnians that do not belong to the three constituent communities - Serbs, Croats and Muslims ("Bosniaks"), and that obviously ought to be fixed. However, this should not be used as an excuse to tear down what little is left of the Dayton accords, because there exists no viable alternative to the 1995 armistice. The fundamental problem of Bosnia - the fact that its three main ethnic communities disagree whether the country should exist in the first place, let alone how it ought to be organized, and that there is little trust between them, if any - remains just as acute today as it was in April 1992 when it spiraled into bloody ethnic warfare.
This doesn't mean I endorse second-class citizen status for Jews, Roma, or anyone else. But there has to be a better way to ensure one's civil rights than playing into the hands of people like Haris Silajdzic, who hide their agenda of making everyone a second-class citizen behind the rhetoric of "citizen state" and multiethnic multiculturalism. One way or another, the three principal communities in the country have to agree to live together - or separately, if it comes to that - in a way that doesn't trample the rights of anyone, including minorities. If there's a better way to do so than Dayton, by all means let's hear it.
But the real problem for Jews in Bosnia isn't that Jakub Finci can't run for President. Once there was a vibrant Jewish community in Sarajevo. Then came the Independent State of Croatia, with its ideas about "Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and dogs" and support of the "community of European nations" led by Nazi Germany. The descendants of those that survived packed up and left when the civil war broke out in 1992, and never came back. Sarajevo is now over 90% Muslim. There's barely a handful of Jews left, so few that a rabbi has to fly in from Israel to hold services at major holidays.
Somehow I doubt that's the fault of the Dayton agreement.