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Responding to remarks made by Mitt Romney, in his private fundraiser, suggesting that culture was the explanation for the large differences in per capita GDP, between Israel and Gaza and the West Bank,  Saeb Erekat, the lead negotiator for the Palestinians said Mitt Romney's explanation was "racist," and said Romney lacks knowledge of the region, reports HuffPo

As he explained to participants of his private fundraiser:

"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, 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.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.

"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."

Romney again demonstrates he is no where near ready to operate on an international stage.  This gaffe goes well beyond merely insulting hosts, but illustrates a complete lack of fundamental and critical knowledge of a vital region.

Also, we see that Romney's compulsive pattern, and apparent emotional need to pander to the sponsor of the moment, saying whatever he thinks they want to hear, or what he's been told by incompetent advisors disqualifies him to be an appropriate candidate for President of the United States.

To no understand that the economic development of the West Bank and Gaza strip have been crippled by occupation, roadblocks, and import bans on building materials demonstrates a mind-numbing level of ignorance of one of the most politically sensitive and critical regions of the world.

Romney's camp says his remarks are being taken "out of context" but have yet to explain in what context they might have a different and non-offensive meaning.  

9:55 AM PT: The Wall Street Journal confirms Saeb Erekat's statements.

http://online.wsj.com/...

Palestinian leaders's reactions were swift and pointed.

"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.

"It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people," Mr. Erekat added. "He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority."

Mr. Romney made no mention of the fact that Israel has controlled the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since capturing them in 1967. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but continues to control access and has enforced a border blockade since the Islamic-militant group Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

In the West Bank, Israel retains overall control, and Palestinians only have limited self-rule. Israel controls all border crossings in and out of the West Bank and continues to restrict Palestinian trade and movement.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have said the Palestinian economy can only grow if Israel lifts those restrictions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:26:39 AM PDT

  •  Racist, absolutely (6+ / 0-)

    Offensive to both Muslims and Jews -- who says he doesn't favor a more evenhanded approach?

    On to Poland! Is he gonna visit Auschwitz and talk about Jewish cultural superiority enabling 'em to make lots of money?

  •  I'm going to assert (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, IndieGuy

    That Americans are culturally superior to both Israelis and Palestinians.  Clearly, I am racist.

  •  And yet... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexasDemocrat

    "To no understand that the economic development of the West Bank and Gaza strip have been crippled by occupation, roadblocks, and import bans on building materials demonstrates a mind-numbing level of ignorance of one of the most politically sensitive and critical regions of the world."

    And yet economic development in the WB&G has outpaced development in Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

    •  Not having the numbers to hand... (0+ / 0-)

      ...my main observation would be that if you're crushed and lying in the gutter, just standing up is a pretty momentous development.

      I'd be interested in seeing the numbers, with the baselines used to make the comparison.


      Time travel opportunity. Must bring your own weapons. Your safety is not guaranteed, I've only done this once before. Call 866.555.1212.

      by IndieGuy on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:51:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am shocked (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, HoundDog, mjbleo, Vita Brevis, klimtone

    Seriously?  This is so offensive and illustrates the smallness of his mind .... It is insulting to both Palestinians and Jews.  But there are implications for all of us who may be forced to suffer through this man as the leader of the free world.  Is he really so dense as to be incapable of comprehending the complexity of socio-economic conditions that lead to inequities?  God, would he go to an African or Asian country on a presidential tour and proclaim poverty to be a result of their cultural inferiority, with nary a word about history, complex political economy dynamics etc?  I can't wrap my brain around this.  Say what you will, but not even Bush was this out of touch... and he started an unneccesary war.  At this rate, Romney will have us in multiple wars and conflicts in no time at all.

    I vote Democratic because I am a woman with self-respect , who rejects bigotry of all kinds, subscribes to science, believes in universal health care, embraces unions, and endorses smart internationalist foreign policy.

    by Delilah on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:49:54 AM PDT

    •  Mitt Romney (0+ / 0-)

      You expressed my thoughts on the matter well. I just heard on the radio that Mitt thinks that Jerusalem should be the capitol of Israel, not Tel Aviv, which hhelped to pull me out of my political apathy. How dangerous can this man be or become? It boggles my mind.

      I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center. Kurt Vonnegut

      by klimtone on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 10:57:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps Mitt Romney should be president (0+ / 0-)

    He is apparently the one person who could unite the Jews and the Palestinians, even if it is their agreement that Romney is a total wanker.

    Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor. - John Dickinson ("1776")

    by banjolele on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:58:14 AM PDT

  •  Bigoted and ignorant but NOT racist (0+ / 0-)

    Why? Neither Jews nor Palestinians represent a distinct racial group. I might be wrong (hello anthropologists) but I believe that racially, they both belong to the same group racially.

    The end result is no different as Mitt is a Twit, but this does underscore how shockingly ignorant he is sometimes — like his Who let the dogs out comment to some black voters on MLK's birthday. Dude is just cringeworthy.

    •  So does every human (belong to the same race) (0+ / 0-)

      Please step away from the "distinct racial group" button. The term as used commonly is appropriate in this context.

      Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them - Thomas Jefferson 30 July, 1816

      by Roiling Snake Ball on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 11:11:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So offensive to Jews and Palestinians... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog

    rife stereotyping. Offensive to me as an American that anyone will think he speaks for our country. What's next, sharing a "wink wink" Polish joke with Lech Walesa? Does he have black lawn jockeys at his several houses?

    The man is stuck in a time warp that thankfully most of us have left behind.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 10:18:35 AM PDT

  •  I support this message /nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog
  •  I find that remark 'disconcerting' nt (0+ / 0-)

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 11:10:01 AM PDT

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