Friday, August 10, 2012

Romney's Racism Ignores Occupation

Mitt Romney has come under fire for his recent remarks in Jerusalem in which he attributed the higher GDP of Israel when compared to that of Palestinians to "cultural differences" failing to acknowledge Israel's 45-year military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem and its devastating consequences for Palestinians. 

There have been several great responses highlighting Romney's racism. Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American business development consultant, wrote in
The Washington Post
Over the years, not only has Israel prohibited the emergence of a new Palestinian economy — it has structurally and systematically made certain that even the buds of such a productive economy would never see the light of day. Anyone who scratches the surface of all the political spin can see for themselves what the World Bank now repeats: that Israel’s “apparatus of control” has “become more sophisticated and effective in its ability to interfere in and affect every aspect of Palestinian life, including job opportunities, work, and earnings ... (turning) the West Bank into a fragmented set of social and economic islands or enclaves cut off from one another.” 
Our member group Jewish Voice for Peace collected and delivered over 17,000 signatures to Romney's campaign headquarters in Boston asking that he apologize for his remarks. 

Another Palestinian-American businessman, Zahi Khouri, published a piece in The Washington Post entitled: "The Palestine Romney doesn’t know." He writes: 
Israel did not make the desert bloom. Instead, thanks to a deal struck with the British viceroys of Mandate Palestine, it made away with a land, a set of institutions and, indeed, a culture that was not its own.
It did so at the expense of my people. Like more than three-quarters of Palestine’s population, my family was forced to leave this land after Israel’s creation in 1948. Even though we had to abandon our successful businesses and centuries-old homes, however, we did not become the “uncultured” victims that Romney’s caricature suggests.
Most of us went to other Arab countries, where Palestinians became known for our business acumen and management know-how, and helped to build nascent private and public sectors. Ask our fellow Arabs in Lebanon, Jordan or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region and they will tell you: Palestinian culture, with its premium on education and hard work, has been a force for hope, development and prosperity.
Khouri's piece has generated an intense online response. It's critical that supporters of Palestinian rights submit their letters to the editor. Letters should be sent to For verification purposes, please include your name, phone numbers, and address. Keep your letter to under 200 words.

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