|Mitt Romney pissed off Palestinian "negotiator" Saeb Erekat by pointing out that Israel has the healthiest economic culture in the MidEast. If Romney pissed off the Palestinians, you know he hit the nail on the head.|
Romney Lays It Out -Barry Rubin
There are some broad and important political issues raised by a minor flap concerning presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel. The controversy began when Romney said at a meeting with donors:
"And as you come here and you see the GDP per capita for instance in Israel which is about 21,000 dollars and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority which is more like 10,000 dollars per capita you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States. ... there was a book written by a former Harvard professor [David Landes] named ‘The Wealth and Poverty of Nations.’ ...and he’s in his early 70s at this point, he says this, he says, if you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it’s this: culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things."
Palestinian leaders [then] complained, saying that this showed Romney was racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East.
But, here’s one out of thousands of examples: Recently, at a cultural performance whose audience included the PA minister of culture, the songs and poetry spoke of how the main priority of raising children is to make sure they were ready to use guns — not computers — against you-know-who. And Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, holds summer camps where thousands of young people are encouraged to grow up to be suicide bombers and terrorists.
A large number of mainstream media outlets and columnists have attacked Romney for his statement mainly because he didn’t talk about the negative effects of Israeli policy on the Palestinian economy. Because, you see, nobody can be successful and prosperous unless they stole it from others.
To my knowledge not a single one pointed out:
1. Statistics showing major advances during the period of Israeli occupation;
2. Palestinian violence has been the main cause of Israeli roadblocks and interventions;
3. A comparison to non-oil rich Arab countries showing that the Palestinian Authority has not done at all badly in comparison to those where Israel had no effect;
4. The massive corruption and incompetence of the PA;
5. The massive inflow of international aid to the Palestinians; and
6. The large transfer of funds from Israel to the PA regarding refunds on customs duties and workers’ fringe benefits.
This is how shameless the coverage is on these issues. It’s funny to think that only a couple of months ago, the same media outlets were talking about a big economic boom on the West Bank.
Whose Fault Is Palestinian Poverty? -John Podhoretz
One reason Palestinian economic growth has been so disastrously slow is the terror war that Yasser Arafat launched against Israel in 2000 - the Second Intifada. It shattered Israeli hopes for peaceful concert with a new neighboring country, and led to an economic estrangement that proved horribly costly to Palestinians. Israelis stopped employing Palestinian workers and stopped buying Palestinian goods. Transit and trade between the two became difficult and painful.
And whose fault was it? Israel, which agreed in principle to a deal at Camp David in 2000 granting Palestinians a state with sovereign dominion over nearly 94% of the West Bank? No, it was exclusively the doing of Arafat, who served as a reverse George Washington - rejecting nationhood for violence.
Saeb Erekat blames "occupation" for Palestinian poverty. But the PA has dominion over almost all of the West Bank and Hamas has control over all of Gaza, so the word "occupation" is all but meaningless.
(New York Post)
Romney is no racist -Jeffrey T. Kuhner
CNN, the New York Times, ABC News, MSNBC, CBS News — all of them claimed Mr. Romney’s comments were ignorant, racist or both. Yet, there is only one problem: He is right. Culture matters.
Israel is a First World country because it adheres to Western values, such as free-market capitalism, property rights, constitutional democracy and the rule of law. Palestinians (like all Arab nations) reject these principles. They — and the U.S. media — can complain about Israeli blockades and “occupation.” But the fact is, Palestinian culture places jihad and anti-Semitic hatred above peaceful economic development.
Palestinian schoolchildren — in Gaza and the West Bank — regularly are taught the virtues of strapping on suicide bombs and killing Jews. Palestinian textbooks depict Christians and Jews as descendants from monkeys and pigs. An Arab Switzerland cannot emerge in such a swamp of hate.
Far from being “racist,” Mr. Romney simply stated the obvious.