A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: Israel

Jared Diamond hits back: “Did you even read my book, Mitt?”

by pdxblake

Mitt Romney has written, re-written and re-re-written the meaning of his comments on the differences between the Israeli and Palestinian economies (still no correction on his mistake in the relative per capita GDP, which he said were around 3 to 1, but are really 10 to 1).

This was just the latest in his series of gaffes while he was overseas since he neglected to mention the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as a factor for the economic performance (relying instead on differences in ‘culture’, as well as a sprinkling of ‘divine providence’ for Israel).  The Palestinian spokesman derided Romney’s comment as ‘racist’, but of course Romney was focused more on the reaction back in the US in his conservative base that he is furiously pandering to.

One of the “inspirations” for his “theories” was Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, who gives Romney an ‘F’ for his understanding of the book and comes out swinging about Romney’s ability to be president:

Mitt Romney may become our next president. Will he continue to espouse one-factor explanations for multicausal problems, and fail to understand history and the modern world? If so, he will preside over a declining nation squandering its advantages of location and history.

That can be described only as “ouch”!

Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Mitt Romney’s economic history of Israel and Palestine

by pdxblake

The NYT has good analysis of Mitt Romney’s open-mouth-insert-foot moment from Israel where he diminished the difference in GDP per capita between Israel and Palestine, and then suggested that there were reasons including “cultural differences” and “divine providence” that explained the difference.  The NYT The Caucus blog describes:

Speaking to roughly four dozen donors at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Mr. Romney suggested that cultural differences between the Israelis and the Palestinians were the reason the Israelis were so much more economically successful than the Palestinians, without mentioning the impact that deep trade restrictions imposed by the Israeli government have had on the Palestinian economy. He also vastly understated the income disparities between the two groups.

Romney’s comments were not well received by the Palestinian Authority:

In an interview with the Associated Press, Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, called Mr. Romney’s remarks “racist.”

“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,” Mr. Erekat said. “It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people.”

The NY Times did their part to follow up with the Romney campaign for clarification about the economic impact of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the not-too-distant economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, but got no response from the Romney campaign.

On Monday afternoon, Romney campaign officials did not respond to a query about whether Mr. Romney believes that the blockade of Gaza or trade restrictions in the West Bank have had any dampening effect on economic activity in those areas.

Apart from the specific minefield that Romney ventured into, it appears that he might be suffering in part because he lost his foreign policy advisor to the culture wars in the US.

Oy, the way he talks, it’s meshuggah

by evanmcmurry

Question for the candidate from Texas: where is this Isrull you speak of?