web analytics
July 25, 2014 / 27 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



US Jewish Peace Group Calling Romney Racist over Palestinian Culture Comment


Rabbi Joseph Berman, Boston chair of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Rabbi Joseph Berman, Boston chair of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Photo Credit: Temple website

In an entirely predictable effort to use the word “Jewish” to attack those who support the Jewish State, the organization Jewish Voice for Peace invited other haters of Israel to sign a letter to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, lambasting him for his “racist” and “ignorant” statements about Arab Palestinians.

In one of the more hotly debated statements Romney made on his trip to Israel last month, he attributed the vast disparity in economic health between that of the robust Israeli one and the dismal one of the Palestinian Authority to, in part, a difference in culture.

Given that the two societies live in the same climate, with the same geologic infirmities, is it a wonder that someone might think to look to culture to explain the vast difference between the two?  Of course, the naming of children’s sports teams, streets and town squares after people who blow themselves up in order to murder as many Jews as possible is surely an indicator of cultural inclination.

But the JVP folks insist that the reason for the disparity in economic health between the two societies is the “Occupation.”

Rabbi Joseph Berman of Temple B’Nai Israel in Revere, Massachusetts, is the Boston chair of JVP and sits on its rabbinic council.  Rabbi Berman delivered the JVP petition to Romney’s national headquarters in Boston, on Monday, August 6, 2012.  The petition “demands” Romney apologize to the “Palestinian people” for his “cultural differences” statement regarding the Arab Palestinian people.

Your statements in Jerusalem regarding the growth of the Palestinian and Israeli economies were inaccurate and misleading. Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian land makes it impossible for the Palestinian economy to succeed, not “cultural differences.” Your comments were not a reflection of the values Jews, Americans, and our allies hold dear. We call on you to apologize to the Palestinian people for your willful lack of understanding of the facts on the ground and the racist assumptions behind them.

Given what they describe as Romney’s racism, JVP claims that this election season “is a unique moment to raise the issue of the Occupation in the presidential election. We all know the Occupation is what’s holding back the Palestinian economy.”

Is it?  Back in 2002 the pre-eminent Middle East historian Efraim Karsh slew that sacred cow. Karsh explained that, actually, the very best thing that ever happened to the economy, the overall health, the educational levels and the standard of living for the Arab Palestinians was precisely what JVP and others claim is the reason for their misery: the so-called “Occupation.”

Following the 1967 war, when Israel became responsible for the Arabs living in the disputed territories, their life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 years in 2000; their infant mortality rate plunged from 60 out of 1000 to just 15 in 2000; during the 1970′s the economy in the territories and Gaza was the fourth fastest growing in the world, illiteracy rates plummeted to just 14 percent, the lowest of all Arabs in the surrounding Arab countries.  In 1967, when Israel first gained control over the territories, there was not a single institution of higher learning, by the beginning of the 1970′s there were seven.

The JVP petition claims that Arabs are under-paid in the territories, but, in fact, Arabs living in Israel and the territories have among the highest standard of living of any Arabs anywhere in the world.

But Jewish Voice for Peace echoes the outrage of Palestinian Authority spokesman Saeb Erekat’s response to Romney’s cultures claim. They are insisting that rather than Arab intransigence and a culture that glorifies murder and terrorism, it is the mere statement of a US presidential candidate that has destroyed the chances for negotiations that JVP, at least, claims would lead to the creation of the holy grail of progressive Jewish politics – the creation of a Palestinian State.

Professor of Medieval history Richard Landes, writing in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, August 6, shored up Karsh’s exposure of the “Occupation” as Middle East bogeyman (“Richard Landes: Romney Is Right on Culture and the Wealth of Nations“).  While Karsh wrote about the benefits brought to the Arabs by their exposure to, and entwining with, the Israeli economy and technological progress, post-”Occupation,” Landes struck hard on aspects of Arab culture that practically ensure stagnation.

Arab culture, says Landes, views intellectual curiosity and exuberant innovation as subversive.  He writes that Arab culture  “emphasizes rote learning and unquestioning respect for those in authority,” and public criticism of authority invites “sharp retaliation.”

Landes brings the argument full circle.  In the speech he gave in which he discussed the impact of culture on both the Israeli and the Arab economies, Romney cited historian David Landes, Richard’s father. The son pointed out, in his Journal op-ed, that “Blaming others for one’s own failures prolongs failure. Even though his own government daily chooses a culture of death, not life, Mr. Erekat wants to blame Israel for Palestine’s woes; no admission here that he and his colleagues might have some role in the suffering of their own people.”

If blaming others is at least a root cause of the dismal Arab economy, and if JVP and their fellow travelers encourage that culture of blame, then perhaps it is also the culture of those such as Rabbi Joseph Berman and his comrades at JVP which must bear at least some of the blame for the cycle of Arab failure.

More Good Works by our Brothers and Sisters at the Jewish Voice for Peace:

JVP supports Presbyterian Divestment

JVP is very proud to have been part of the broad coalition supporting Presbyterian efforts to boycott settlement products and divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation since 2004. We are especially proud of the members of our youth branch — Young, Jewish, and Proud (YJP) — and of our Rabbinical Council who were in Pittsburgh this year at the General Assembly meeting in support of the resolutions.

TIAA-CREF: Divest from the occupation

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) has endorsed the TIAA-CREF campaign and is urging all groups working on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns in the US, especially on university campuses, to endorse the campaign and join it, whenever possible, to amplify its reach and impact across the US. 

Campus Divestment

On April 28, 2010, students at the University of California at Berkeley failed by just one vote to overturn the veto of the original student council vote of 16 to 4 to divest from companies that specifically profit from the occupation, but they helped launch a new phase of the movement for justice.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

57 Responses to “US Jewish Peace Group Calling Romney Racist over Palestinian Culture Comment”

  1. Pisarevsky: Please give one, just one, instance of President Obama having curtailed anybody's freedom in any way. Just one. But make it a true verifiable fact. Just one, if you can.

  2. Indeed! Jews are very very good with money, finances, that´s undisputable. But it´s worth to remind Romney and friends that they essentially excel in sciences, economy, philosophy, sociology, music, psychology, and much more… in any area of human knowledge they are allowed to compete they excel…finance and trade is only a very narrow sample…

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest News Stories
John Kerry

Bibi’s cabinet unanimously rejected Kerry’s ceasefire proposal, but still considering 12-hour break.

IDF Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, hy'd, who fell in action Sunday, July 20, 2014 with six comrades when his APC was hit by an anti-tank missile fired by terrorists in Gaza. Declared dead Friday, July 25, 2014. May God avenge his blood.

Hamas exploited the fog of war: they did not kidnap Shaul Aron, he was killed in action.

A soldier called up to talk to my 5 year old son…

An Arab driver, driving into a group of Jews at a Gush Etzion bus stop.

An Arab driver swerved into a group of women and girls standing at a Gush Etzion Junction (Tzomet HaGush) bus stop.

1st Sgt. Yair Ashkenazi, Reserves, (36) HY”D, was killed this morning during operations in northern Gaza.

11:45am Rocket alerts, including Tel Aviv and Lod. The smell of a Cease fire is in the air. 11:47am 07-25-2014 Ramla, Lod 11:47am 07-25-2014 Tel Aviv – Yafo , Bat Yam, Bnei Brak / Givaatayim / Petach Tikva, Dan coastal plain, Kiryat Ono, Elad, Rosh Ha’yin, Ramla, Lod, Shoham, Kfar Chabad 11:47am 07-25-2014 Tel Aviv […]

Chabad has provided a list of all the soldiers injured so far in Operation Protective Edge, so you can add them to your prayers.

We’re waiting to hear back if there will be a cease fire this afternoon. The terms grant Hamas political legitimacy.

11:10am Massive number of rocket alerts: 11:10am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Ashkelon 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Ashkelon, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Ashkelon 11:09am 07-25-2014 Herzliya, Raanana, Ashkelon, Emek Hefer, Kfar Saba, Sharon / Gaash, Zikim […]

The IDF has released a list of senior Gazan terrorists who have been taken out…

Thousands of Israelis in Turkey have been trapped there due to the war with Gaza.

Abbas faces the acid test of his clinging to power, but he is forced himself into a lose-lose-corner.

Golani 12 Platoon commander, Shai Siman-Tov, was seriously injured yesterday,

The IDF has begun to systematically tear apart the roots of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure

Amb. Ron Dermer takes on CNN’s coverage of Hamas, and wins.

Hip Hop musicians create a song and video to express how they feel about the current Arab/Israel war.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
John Kerry

Bibi’s cabinet unanimously rejected Kerry’s ceasefire proposal, but still considering 12-hour break.

Hip Hop musicians Kosha Dillz and Diwon created "No More War" in response to the current conflict.

Hip Hop musicians create a song and video to express how they feel about the current Arab/Israel war.

Senators wrote to Obama insisting any ceasefire ensures Israel will be free from Gazan terrorism.

Sen Ted Cruz wants the administration to give straight answers to questions about the FAA ban on Israel.

Why is the ban on Israel’s airport different from all other FAA bans?

US extends ban on flights to Israel despite lack of such precaution in similar or worse situations.

Golani brigade commander was hospitalized after being wounded, but he returned to the battlefield to complete the mission.

The Ruderman Family Foundation rewards Jewish organizations for promoting inclusion of those with disabilities.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/eye-on-palestine/us-jewish-peace-group-calling-romney-racist-over-palestinian-culture-comment/2012/08/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: