“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.”– Mitt Romney on Monday morning, suggesting that the Israeli economy had outpaced the economy of the Palestinian territories in part because of advantages of “culture.”
Abraham Diskin, a political science professor at the Inter-Disciplinary Center outside of Tel Aviv said it’s true that Israel has logged tremendous achievements, … but“you can understand this remark in several ways… You can say it’s anti-Semitic. ‘Jews and money.’”
Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, responded: “All I can say is that this man needs a lot of education. He doesn’t know the region, he doesn’t know Israelis, he doesn’t know Palestinians, and to talk about the Palestinians as an inferior culture is really a racist statement… I’ve never heard this from any Israeli, to be honest.”
Palestinians are outraged since Romney didn’t mention any of the very NON-CULTURAL REASONS for the economic disparities:
- Israel controls crossings to both Palestinian areas. Israel has imposed a blockade on its boundary with Gaza since the Islamic militant group Hamas took over there in 2007.
- In the West Bank, Israel continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement.
- the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have said repeatedly that the Palestinian economy can only grow if Israel lifts those restrictions.
But Mitt Romney doesn’t care about all of that: Heleft Israel for Poland Monday with over $1 million more in his campaign war chest than when he arrived, following a first-ever presidential fundraiser in the country. Some 47 people attended breakfast at a room at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel with Romney, his wife, and one of his sons, at the price of $50,000 per couple.
Mitt’s truly a national treasure.
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