LETTER: Equal rights may be a road to tyranny
A single state in which Muslims are the majority would be repressive and intolerant like all its neighbours
A recent letter signed by Jews demanding a ceasefire by Israel ended by demanding “equal rights of all Israelis and Palestinians”. That is a wonderful sentiment with which no decent person could disagree. However, all such letters seem to stop at that point. Few go on to examine what exactly granting equal rights would involve.
Apart from the obvious — opening the Gaza border, taking down the West Bank wall and removing half a million Jewish settlers from the West Bank — the Palestinians would also have to be granted the same right of return that Israel has long granted Jews.
Most estimates are that about 4-million Palestinians could return to Israel, descendants of the 750,000 who left or were driven out in the 1947-48 period. This means the 6.5-million Arabs in the area “from the river to the sea” would increase to more than 10-million, outnumbering the estimated 7-million Jews now living there.
No two-state solution offered by Israel will ever be acceptable to the Palestinians, and understandably so. So we are looking at a single state where Muslims would be in a nearly 60% majority. It would be the end of Jewish control.
What sort of state would this new Muslim majority state likely be? The only way to answer this is to look at similar Islamic countries in the area, and for anybody who values democratic governance and freedoms it is not a pretty sight.
Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq, to name a few neighbours, are rated by independent bodies such as the Economist Intelligence Unit, or Freedom House, as among the least free in the world.
Out of a maximum score of 100, the Muslim states average about 34 and are all rated “partly free or not free”. Israel, for all its apparent faults, is rated free at 79 out of 100.
The idea that an Islamic Israel would, with Hamas as part of the government, become a beacon of liberal values and tolerance for all is, to put it mildly, unlikely. The reality is that it is almost certain to become another repressive, intolerant, sharia-led state like all its neighbours.
A country where women are routinely oppressed, where dissent is punished by jail or death, where there is no freedom of the press, nor of religion. Where political opposition is regarded as treason, and fair elections do not exist.
Such a state clearly appeals to huge sections of the Muslim world. But for any person who values democratic freedoms, Jew or not, it would be a disastrous collapse into the dark ages.
Be careful what you wish for when you happily demand equal rights.
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