'Palestinians' seethe over Romney fundraiser commentsAt a Jerusalem fundraiser on Monday, Republican candidate Mitt Romney told his Jewish donors exactly what he thinks of the 'Palestinians' (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who ate breakfast at the luxurious King David Hotel.The 'Palestinians' are seething in response.
Romney said some economic histories have theorized that "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," Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the "hand of providence." He said similar disparity exists between neighboring countries, like Mexico and the United States.
"It is a racist statement and this man doesn't realize that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation," said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.A few points. First, Romney understated the disparity. Israel's GDP is $31,000 and the 'Palestinians' GDP is $1,500 per person.
"It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people," Erekat added. "He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority."
Second, assuming that 'Palestinian' GDP is in fact restrained by Israel (an assertion I will challenge below), for an indication of what the 'Palestinian' GDP might be without that restraint, one only has to look at other countries in the region. Jordan's is $5,900. Egypt's is $6,324, Syria's is $5,262 and Lebanon's is $15,600, all far below Israel's $30,975. It seems far more likely that an unrestrained 'Palestinian' economy would be closer to any of those other countries than to Israel.
Finally, with all the seething about Israeli restraints on the 'Palestinian' economy (backed up by the politically motivated World Bank), there are many restraints on the 'Palestinian' economy that are self-imposed. These include the highly centralized nature of the 'Palestinian' economy, the amount spent on several competing 'security services,' and the culture that values 'martyrdom' over economic achievement and education.
So no, Romney's assertion was not unreasonable and it wasn't 'racist.'
But you all knew that.
The explanation for where I was in the last several hours will be in the overnight music video, which resumes tonight.