Palestinians were upset that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. What annoyed them even more was a remark Romney made during a fundraiser Monday morning in Jerusalem attended by some 40 wealthy American-Jewish supporters.
Romney spoke about the economic differences between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, ignoring the limitations that the occupation puts on Palestinian economic development, saying instead that the reason for the gap was due to cultural differences between Israelis and Palestinians.
“As you come here and you see the GDP [gross domestic product] 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,” Romney said.
He then cited the book “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” and explained what he believed to be author David Landes’ thesis.
“He says if you can learn anything from the economic history of the world, it’s this: culture makes all the difference. 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.”
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