I’m beginning to think that if Mitt Romney were overheard ordering scrambled eggs for breakfast, it would be reported as a “gaffe.”
First, he said that the Brits weren’t properly prepared to host the Olympics. Well, a) as the head of the 2002 Winter Games committee, he should know, and b) ask any resident of London.
Next, his press secretary told an incredibly annoying reporter, who was shouting insulting questions at Romney at the Polish tomb of the unknown soldier, to “kiss my ass.” While this was not technically a Romney gaffe, it was called a ‘gaffe’ nevertheless. But watch the video and see if you wouldn’t have said the same thing, or worse.
Then he went on to commit the unpardonable sin of recognizing reality and calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel. While this has been the case since Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948, the Obama Administration insists that this is a matter for “final status negotiations,” in effect making Jerusalem’s status dependent on Palestinian Arab approval!
After that we had the unexceptionable claim that economic success is related to culture. Well, isn’t it? Especially when the comparison is between Israel and the Palestinians.
The argument seems to be that the US can’t afford to anger the Palestinians (they anger easily), or they won’t cooperate. But they are not cooperating now, and one of the reasons is that the US encourages them to continue living in a dream world in which they will have a right of return to Israel, that Israel is not the state of the Jewish people, that Israel will withdraw to the 1949 cease-fire lines, etc.
A more realistic position from the US may not make the Arabs more likely to compromise, but at least we can be spared the cognitive dissonance of watching administration spokespeople ducking and weaving (short video here) to avoid the simple truth.
Did I mention that he said that Israel could use “any and all measures” to defend itself against Iran? That is supposedly a gaffe, too. What’s the alternative, suicide?
Now Romney has said that
It’s individuals and their entrepreneurship which have driven America. What America is not is a collective where we all work in a kibbutz or we all in some little entity … Instead, it’s individuals pursuing their dreams and building successful enterprises which employ others and they become inspired as they see what has happened in the place they work and go off and start their own enterprises.
Is this supposed to be upsetting to Israelis? Apparently the LA Times reporter who wrote the story thinks so, adding that there might be a “flap” about the remark.
What’s to flap about? Keep in mind that Israel’s recent success as a high-tech powerhouse has come after the economy underwent a major shift from one in which major industries were socialized to a free-market model. This is not the only reason, but it’s certainly part of it.
For that matter, Israelis are not especially enamored with the classical kibbutz. Since the 1980’s, kibbutzim in Israel have moved away from socialist or communist principles. Today almost all of them are ‘privatized’, with members earning salaries according to their jobs, children living with their parents, etc. Even in their heyday, no more than about 3.5% of Israel’s population were kibbutzniks. Much of the success of the kibbutzim came as a result of subsidies provided by successive Labor governments, and not every Israeli considered the kibbutz — with its enforced limitations on individual choice in many areas — as the model for an ideal community.
Could it be that the media are by and large unfair to Romney? No, impossible!