Mitt Romney is correct to say he wasn’t specifically speaking about Palestinian culture when he juxtaposed the Israeli and Palestinian economies. Indeed, when Romney spoke about culture he was referring to the work of Harvard economics professor David Landes in his book The Wealth & Poverty of Nations.
So for quoting David Landes, Saeb Erekat called Romney a racist. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Erekat, he is to Mahmoud Abbas what David Axelrod is to Barack Obama. Well, Romney should wear Erekat’s disdain as a badge of honor.
Let me say a few things about Palestinian culture beginning with the economic context. How did Palestinians react when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in September 2005? By looting greenhouses that contributed to the health of Gaza’s economy. Why? Because they had been operated by Jews who had been evicted by the IDF. The Palestinians cut off their noses to spite their faces.
Whether a Palestinian resides in Gaza under the rule of Hamas or in the West Bank under the rule of Fatah, from the moment they awake until the moment they go to sleep they are inundated with anti-Semitic propaganda in their homes, their mosques, their schools and their media be it print, broadcast or social. Just over two weeks ago, on Palestinian Authority TV, Israel was depicted as a monster that stabs and eats children.
What are we to expect of a Palestinian culture that dances in the streets and hands out candy to children when Jews are murdered as was the case with the Fogel family in March 2011? Can we honestly expect Palestinians to be prepared to live side by side with Israelis in peace when they delight in the slit throat of a 3 month old girl?
So the Palestinian leadership in Gaza and the West Bank is angry at Romney. Well, too damn bad. After all, it is these same leaders who see fit to name schools, soccer fields and streets after suicide bombers and that should tell you everything you need to know about Palestinian culture.