Monday, July 30, 2012

Plain and Simple Racism From Mitt Romney

I'm sure there will be many more dog whistles from Romney surrogates like the "he's not a real american" thing as the campaign moves forward, but the man himself today said something far worse:

Mitt Romney offered up a curious assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a fundraiser in Jerusalem on Sunday, suggesting that Palestinian suffering — rather than an obstacle to peace — was actually an encouraging sign of Israel’s greatness.

“I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries,” Romney told a group of high-dollar donors at a fundraiser in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. “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.”

As the Associated Press noted, Romney actually got the numbers very wrong: Israel’s GDP per capita was $31,000 in 2011 and Palestinians’ per capita GDP was just $1,500. Romney at no point mentioned that the Palestinian territories have for decades been occupied without sovereign control, where residents face significant restrictions on movement and employment.
“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,” Saeb Erakat, a senior Palestinian Authority official, told the AP.

Romney attributed the gap in success in part to Israel’s “culture.”

“Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said. “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.” Among them, he cited “the hand of providence.”

So... no, it's not that Israeli culture is superior. Israel is rich and Palestine poor is due to the fact that one country has occupied the other for the past 30 or so years, while backed by the most powerful country/military force in the world.
If you're saying that "culture" is the reason why, you are being a racist. It's that simple.

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