It is most disappointing to read that Mitt Romney has again placed both feet into his mouth. Over the past days his mouth has housed his feet more often than not.
The latest–and largest–blunder took place during the Israeli leg of his overseas journey. If the trip was to showcase Romney’s brain-power on the world stage–lets just say the idea floundered. Badly!
What Romney proved was that racism and small-mindedness continue to be hallmarks of Republican thinking. No one–and I mean NO ONE–can look at the last 60 years of history in the region and not see the destructive policies of Israel has severely impacted the Palestinian people. To then pretend that there is a culture difference as to explain the economic plight of the Palestinians is absolutely numbing. To use a clearly racist context of rationalizing the end result of what Israel has to be held accountable for is unforgivable.
There are many in this nation who fail to grasp the need to concentrate on the foreign policy views of the candidates running for president. Too many voters think that everything related to the economy is all that matters. That thinking is clearly wrong, and Romney’s statement in Israel proves the case.
Is it any wonder that Palestinians often wonder about America, and the leadership that if offers the world? Is it any wonder there is anger and resentment in the Middle East after hearing the racist words of Mitt Romney?
At a fundraising breakfast Monday morning in Jerusalem with some of his largest donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Romney remarked that he saw the “power” of “culture” at work in the large disparity between living standards in Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.
Palestinian spokespeople, asked about the remark, initially by the Associated Press and then by other American reporters, reacted angrily, saying Romney had ignored the impact of Israeli government policy, which for years has favored economic development in Jewish areas, and the continued Israeli occupation of parts of the West Bank, which has disrupted commerce and communications in Palestinian areas.
“Oh my god, this man needs a lot of education,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “What he said about the culture is racism.” The “Israeli occupation” is “the reason” for the income disparity, Erekat added.
To Palestinians, even posing the question the way Romney did is likely to give offense. In their eyes, Israeli tanks, checkpoints and years of under-investment in roads, water lines and other infrastructure in Palestinian areas explains much of the difference in the economic status of Israel and the West Bank. Many Palestinians believe that Israel has deliberately hampered their economic growth in the hope of encouraging Arabs to leave the Palestinian areas for other countries, as many have done. Israelis, of course, see the matter differently, arguing that the measures they have taken are necessary for their security.
“Every extremist in the region is going to use what he’s said for ammunition for a long, long time,” Erekat said, referring both to the “culture” remark and Romney’s statement Sunday referring to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, language that departs from the long-standing U.S. position that the final status of the city is a matter for negotiations between the Israelis and Arabs.
7 thoughts on “Mitt Romney Fails To See Ruthless Israeli Policies Reason In Large Part For Palestinian Economic Woes”
The West Bank enjoys “an annual economic growth rate of 7%, declining unemployment, a thriving tourism industry, and a 24% hike in the average daily wage” according to a recent article in the WSJ. Additionally,”Among the improvements of the last year cited by the IMF and other financial observers are an 18% increase in the local stock exchange, a 94% growth of tourism to Bethlehem—generating 6,000 new jobs—and an 82% rise in trade with Israel. Since 2008, more than 2,000 new companies have been registered with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Where heavy fighting once raged, there are now state-of-the-art shopping malls.” Perhaps Obama could travel there to get some ideas for our own economy.
Of course the relative differences in economic prosperity have somehing to do with the security measures Isreal must take to protect itself from the often hostile and frequently murderous peoples who live among their neighbors and often enjoy tacit if not direct support from the population. Romney was commenting on the fact, I think, that freedom and a liberal government with a system of checks and balances and an engaged citizenry and a free press help promote economic prosperity. (Isreal does not enjoy resources which would benefit it as in Guns, Germs, and Steel, but rather the clutural/political markers of Wealth and Poverty of Nations.) As the Palestinians come to realize that these tools are the keys to economic success and as they abandon warfare and terrorism, Isreal will feel more secure and contines to relax security measures. It should be noted that they have already dismantled many such sites and removed other barriers to travel and commerce which were necessary and reasonable.
While it is hard to imagine a more reasonable and open-minded critic that Mr. Erekat, the clear lesson is that a culture of peace allows for a culture of prosperity. One thing Mr. Erekat certainly understands is that to stir up the lefty readers of the L.A. Times, all one has to do is start claiming that the Isrealis and Mr. Romney are Racists. This is easy since the left identifies people only by the sub-group they belong to–black, hispanic, gay, or whatever. Since they subscribe to a political and moral philosophy predicated entirely on identity and not the content of character, the left soaks up these weak claims with a gusto that only a hunger to justify and rationalize can provide.
Foriegn policy is important. I’m glad that Romney might be able to reverse some of the damage and instability creates by Obama’s “hopeful” decisions. One way to start is to remind the world that America will stand with her allies in the Middle East of the Falklands if necessary.
Thanks for the reply.
You left out the reasons, however, that there are those who think violence is the only path to deal with Israel. You left out that Israel used bombings and killings to make their nation, on land that was simply not theirs to have. You did not mention that the settlement issue continues, and that this alone is reason enough to hurl at Isreal whatever one can find.
Let us not forget the tens of billions–some place it at $100 billion dollars over the decades–of foreign aid from US taxpayers for Israel. How much money do you think was sent to the Palestinians during those years? That never aided in economic gains…….
I might also add that Gaza today is still below early 1990s levels of economic gains because of the illegal Israeli blockade. Let us also not forget the pattern of Isreali behavior with olive trees, and water rights, check points and walls……none of those would in any way contribute against economic gains of course…
I am shocked that those who support Isreal have forgotten one of the foundations the Jews used when creating their nation.
Stateless people have no firm property or human rights because there is no state to guarantee them. Strange how that was a horrible consideration in the mid-40’s, and not a factor when thinking about those in Gaza or West Bank today.
Perhaps we’re both a little selective with our reading of history. Prior to the legal formation of Isreal and its recognition by the U.S., there seems to have been quite a bit of terrorism on both sides. Interestingly, there is one noted massacre, Qibya, in 1952 or 53–something like that. This seems to be the only time Isreali military units appear to have deliberately targeted civilians–and killed 60 or 70 mostly women and children. The response–as horrible and misguided as it was–seems understandable in the context of a much larger and more horrific terror campaign waged by “arabs” both before and after–all of this shortly after the Holocaust. Munich comes to mind, the attacks on the Tel Aviv airport come to mind.
The long and short of it is that the Palestinians have done as much as any people could to create their current circumstances. Don’t mutter about olive trees unless you are also willing to mention the green houses, schools, and other infrastructure the Palestinians destroyed in the lands Isreal peacefully retreated from.
Look, the solution to this is simple–at least in its first step. Palestinians and the other Arab nations must recognize Isreal, her sovreignty, and her right to exist. They must conclude formal peace treaties with Isreal. How can Isreal be expected to relax and “meet” the neighbors until the neighbors stop threatening them as a matter of state policy? Until these things happen, who gives a rip that some Palestinian needs to show his papers at a checkpoint?
Finally, I would argue that seld defense and suport for one’s allies is not racism any more than your cloudy claims constitute anti-semitism. You should be more careful with language.
I must take exception to your lead for the last comment. Prior to the creation of Isreal, and I do note your time frame with your wording—comes one of the most deadly and brazen attacks.
The King David Hotel bombing was an attack carried out on 22 July 1946 by the militant right-wing Zionist underground organization the Irgun on the British administrative headquarters for Palestine, which was housed in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.91 people of various nationalities were killed and 46 were injured. The Irgun planted a bomb in the basement of the main building of the hotel.
1929 Palestinian Riots.
The list goes on an on. Mine is longer.
Is your mind so closed that there is no room for even the smallest concession?
Igrun was a terrible terrorist organization, by the way, not an action by the state of Isreal.
I know it was not an action by the nation of Isreal, as noted with ” Prior to the creation of Isreal, and I do note your time frame with your wording—comes one of the most deadly and brazen attacks”
I have written many times about the relations between the parties involved and offer this from June 2010…..What Helen Thomas stated about who should live in Palestine last week is not that jarring if one thinks about it beyond the confines of the last roughly 60 years. I think the Balfour Agreement in 1917 was the start of a wrong path. I am not sure, but suspect that Thomas might share that view. Having said that, I think the whole Middle East is remarkable for the complexity of cultures and politics, and I wish for a resolution that is fair for those who were displaced and treated as second class people in their own lands.
But having stated what I think, or what Thomas said, is not anti-Semitic. It runs counter to Israeli policy for sure, but that is different from being against a group of people. I differ with Israel all the time, but never have I made statements, or do I feel in my soul, anti-Semitic in any way. I just don’t. I do have strong pro-Palestinian feelings, and know that a homeland with full rights is essential for long-term peace. To pretend, as many do, that policy in the Middle East is sane or rational just because Israel desires it is misguided and costly. That has been proved over and over again.
Saying the Balfour 1917 was the wrong step might be an interesting comment, but the fact of the matter is that it happened. We might as well blame Rome and its 10th legion.
As for the displaced, do you mean the Jews who were kicked out of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan–and countless other countries?
I agree that the issue is very complex, and I share your desire for a peaceful resolution. What I refuse to share is a viewpoint that only one party is responsible for the conflict. Just as I can accept that Helen Thomas’ remarks are not anti-semetic, I must also give the benefit of the doubt to Romney. So should you. I also do not accept that a nation which affords–through its laws, traditions, and culture–a remarkable level of freedom and protection to women,gays, and other minority groups is the moral equivalent of the “palestinian state” or any of its morally backward and oppressive neighbors. Either one believes that people deserve rights or he or she does not.