Romney could have been more diplomatic and eschewed a shorthand explanation of what ails Palestinian society — he might also have acknowledged Palestinian achievements — but he identified what are, indisputably, two problems. The first is that of culture. The second is the reluctance to discuss it.
After the initial rush of journalists to be part of the crowd to jump on Romney's "culture" comment, some voices of sanity in the media are finally making themselves known.
One is Richard Cohen of the Washington Post, who writes that culture is A difference beyond question:
The cultural difference between Israel and its Arab neighbors is so striking that you would think it beyond question. But when Mitt Romney attributed the gap between Israel’s economic performance and the Palestinians’ — “Culture makes all the difference,” he said in Israel — the roof came down on him. PC police the world over raised a red card, giving him demerits for having the temerity to notice the obvious. Predictably, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator and a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, denounced the statement as “racist.” It was, of course, just the opposite.If anything, it may very well be that those who rush to be part of another crowd--the one that is eager to hold the Palestinian Arabs completely blameless for the their situation--may be the ones who are guilty of racism:
The tendency to hold the Arabs blameless for their own culture is part of the predilection to hold them harmless for the lack of peace agreement with Israel. The Israelis have much to account for, but they are not alone in this matter and they are not the ones who have over and over again rejected peace plans. The adamant refusal to hold the Arabs accountable infantilizes them — a neo-colonialist mentality that is, in the end, simply insulting.Writing about Israel’s ‘You Built It’ Culture, Daniel Greenfield writes that some Arab columnists "get it" too:
Khalaf Al-Harbi, a Saudi columnist, wrote, “The secret to Israel’s survival, despite all the great challenges it has faced, lies in democracy and respect for the worth of the [Israeli] individual… The secret to the collapse of the Arab countries, one after another, lies in dictatorship and in the oppression of the individual… [Israel] drew its power from the honor it granted to its citizens, while its Arab neighbors trampled the [poor] creatures known as their citizens.”Some Democrats get it too--or at least they did at one time.
Seth Mandel writes that Romney Wins the “Culture” Argument, noting that 7 years ago Hillary Clinton decried Palestinian Arab culture when she spoke out against
calls to martyrdom directed at Palestinian children that "create a new generation of terrorists" in her address to the AIPAC policy conference Tuesday in Washington. Describing a hearing with a representative of the Palestinian Authority, Clinton said she told him, "Using children as pawns in a political process is tantamount to child abuse, and we must say it has to end now."Mandel points out that at the time, Clinton went farther than even Romney was willing to go.
These days, during an election year, Hillary Clinton is silent.
And a man who is stating simple, obvious truths is attacked by the lynch mob that is our media.
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