Romney’s foreign policy trip is quite a success so far, if pissing off the British and the Palestinians was on the agenda.
The latest comes from The Guardian:
Palestinian leaders expressed offence and outrage at comments by Mitt Romney during his lightning visit to Israel, in which he said the Jewish state’s economic success compared with its Palestinian neighbours was due to “cultural” differences and the “hand of providence”, and declared Jerusalem to be “the capital of Israel”.
Now, I know not many folks here in Southwest Missouri don’t give a damn about offended and outraged Palestinian leaders, since many of my fellow citizens in these parts believe Jesus is going to rain down hell on all of Israel’s enemies some sweet day, when God finally stops dithering and starts killing.
But if there is ever to be peace between Jews and Arabs in the real world, it might behoove folks like Romney to stop suggesting God is on Israel’s side—and by extension ours—even if Romney’s home-cooked religion tells him so. It was a stupid thing to say, given what is at stake, and particularly stupid if Romney becomes our Theologian-in-Chief.
The Guardian continues:
Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, condemned Romney’s comments. “It is a racist statement, and this man doesn’t realise that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” he said.
“It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people. He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority.”
Romney, who did not visit the West Bank while in the Holy Land, made no mention of either Israel’s 45-year occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, nor its continuing blockade of Gaza, both of which have had a catastrophic impact on the Palestinian economy.
The consensus of international economists, including the IMF and the World Bank, is that the Palestinian economy will fail to develop firm foundations and sustained growth until Israeli restrictions on imports, exports and the movement of goods are lifted.
So, not only does Romney not understand American economics—he is a supply-sider, after all—in one 30-hour stay in Israel he has thrust his ignorance into the middle of a long, long feud in the Middle East.
Can’t wait for his remarks in Poland today. Have you heard the one about the Polish firing squad?