…and why is Israel wealthy?
The beatings have begun for presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who had the guts to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel and suggest that “culture” is why Israel is wealthy and the Palestinians are poor.
Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shot back that “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."
The liberal media, which hates Israeli exceptionalism as much or more than American exceptionalism, can be expected to ridicule Romney for what it will see as an ignorant and insensitive statement.
So, Israel is keeping the Palestinians poor and backward? And how is it keeping Egypt poor and backward? What about Syria? Libya? Iran? Jordan? Sudan? Northern Nigeria? What are their excuses? Where are the Arab, African, or Persian Muslim nations in the Middle East that are wealthy and successful (without the benefit of oil reserves)?
Historians note how most of Palestine was a poverty stricken wasteland before the Jews returned. Author Ben Halpern, in his seminal study of Zionism, The Idea of the Jewish State, records that in 1880, the American consul in Jerusalem reported that “The population and wealth of Palestine has not increased during the last forty years.”
The Report of the Palestine Royal Commission recorded this account about the conditions on Palestine’s coastal plain in 1913:
The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts . . . no orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached [the Jewish village of] Yabna [Yavne]. . . . Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen. . . . The ploughs used were of wood. . . . The yields were very poor. . . . The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist. . . . The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert. . . . The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.
Palestine was so backward that Palestinian leaders at first hoped the return of the Jews would revitalize the nation.
As I have blogged before, the poverty in the Middle East IS all about culture and philosophy and religion. It is about the terrible effects of Islam on a civilization.
The Asia Times columnist Spengler nailed it when he wrote,
“Where are the Muslim scientists, novelists, entrepreneurs, athletes and musicians? Apart from [mostly corrupt] political leaders, a reasonably diligent reader of a quality newspaper in the West will not be able to name a single Muslim distinguished in any field of human endeavor. Excluding the politically awarded Peace Prize, Muslims have won only three Nobel prizes since their inception more than a century ago, or one for every 450 million Muslims alive today. By contrast, there have been 169 Jewish Nobel Laureates (excluding the Peace Prize), or about one for every 89,000 Jews alive today. During the past century, a Jew was 5,000 times more likely to win the Nobel than a Muslim."
The last native of a Muslim country to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, was persecuted (by Muslims) for saying that Islam has destroyed the creativity of Muslims. And, judging from news reports, it would seem that too much Palestinian creativity goes toward designing a better bomb belt, rocket, or tunnel in order to kill Israeli children.
You can’t blame Israel for the terrible effects of Islam on a culture, or for the failure of the Palestinians.