Israel is a tiny oasis of democracy that has right to self-determination

The image conjured by Daniel Teegan (25 June), of emaciated Holocaust survivors arriving in post-WW2 Palestine – their only available refuge, into which they had to be smuggled in the face of severe British-imposed entry restrictions – as representatives of “European colonialism” would be laughable if it did not embrace so much tragedy.

Israel is a tiny oasis of democracy that has right to self-determination

And that is to leave out of account the 51 percent of Israeli Jews whose ancestors were forced out of the Middle East’s Arab states, having lived there for centuries.

It is false to state that the Zionist project prevented the emergence of an independent Palestinian Arab state after World War 2. Such a state was integral to the UN partition plan. What did prevent it was the refusal of the Arabs (continuing to this day) to accept Jewish self-determination in any area, however small.

There are currently 22 Arab states with a joint area at least 400 times, and a population 50 times, greater than Israel. There are also Hamas-governed Gaza and the autonomous Palestinian Authority governing 96 percent of “west bank” Arabs.

Not a single one of these entities is a democracy, and few are “secular” in any meaningful sense. The onus is therefore on Mr Teegan to show why Jews should abandon their right to self-determination in their own tiny oasis of democracy and trust their futures to the chimera of a “single country, a democratic secular state of Palestine” containing all Jews and Palestinian Arabs.

The religious freedoms and the very existence of religious and ethnic minorities all over the Middle East – Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Kurds, Assyrians – are currently under threat from resurgent Arab-Islamic supremacism. In attacking Israel’s legitimacy, Mr. Teegan’s mission seems to be to recruit followers for this new-old imperial project to subjugate the Jewish minority, the only one that has yet shown the ability to defend itself.

Dermot Meleady

Howth Rd

Clontarf

Dublin 3

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