JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MITT ROMNEY’S REMARKS IN ISRAEL COMPARING THE PALESTINIAN AND ISRAELI ECONOMIES – MANY CALL HIS WORDS RACIST – MAYBE, BUT THEY WERE SURPRISINGLY IGNORANT FOR A MAN IN FINANCE – IMAGINE ROMNEY TRYING TO RUN A BUSINESS UNDER CONDITIONS ISRAEL IMPOSES?   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Romney’s comments may well be racist.

But, without question, they are ignorant beyond comprehension for a man who worked in finance.

He’s comparing apples to oranges on a grand scale.

First, Israel is, without question, the most subsidized entity on earth.

Israel’s economy for that reason cannot be sensibly compared to anything.

It receives about $500 per year per Jewish citizen from the United States, and it has done so for decades.

But that is only the beginning.

There are periodic loan guarantees of tens of billions.

There is constant access at the highest level for this nation with the population of Ecuador, something virtually no other country, even far more important ones, has.

It has a plum free-trade agreement – indeed, without sending its subsidized crops to the U.S. Israel’s agriculture would disappear. It was a gift to Israel because it has no tangible benefits for Americans at all.

The opportunity cost of water Israel squanders on tomatoes and clementines to export is unbelievably high because it is the cost of desalination-plant water. It sends subsidized produce to the United States under free trade, produce the United States doesn’t even need.

Israel receives billions worth of intelligence and defense cooperation every year from the United States, something few other countries receive.

The two billion dollars a year going to Egypt is a bribe paid on Israel’s behalf by Americans since the Camp David Agreements.

Israel receives heavily below cost natural gas from Egypt, the result of U.S. pressure on Mubarak. Everyone knows this is scandalous, and the U.S. has offered to pay a subsidy to top up the price.

Israel also receives billions from the Jewish communities of America and Europe, and it receives important business intelligence and connections.

The great privilege granted to American Israelis to be recognized as dual citizens means they move back and forth regularly, all the while sharing business and other intelligence.

Israel’s farms and cities and water supply were all taken with absolutely no payment or reparations from other people. That is the biggest subsidy ever received, the very substance of the nation.

And it is not satisfied with what happened in 1948, it keeps stealing the property of others regularly, refusing to live in peace because it still wants more.

Israel has received tens of billions in reparations from Germany – wholly appropriate in view of the past – but still a subsidy.

The list is even longer than this, but I think the point is clear: Israel has, in no sense of the words, an independent national economy.

It is in truth a gigantic international welfare case.

Second, and equally important in the ignorance contained in Romney’s speech, Palestine has been under occupation for the best part of half a century.

But it is more than an occupation, it is a set of unfair rules and laws actually designed to discourage Palestinians from staying in their homes.

They are not even allowed to repair things without special permissions.

They are not allowed to build roads without special permissions.

They are not allowed to travel without permissions and going through check-points.

They cannot get supplies for businesses because of Israel’s embargo and controls.

They cannot even fly or travel by sea to do business as they wish.

Even international funds for assisting Palestine have been controlled, and plundered, by Israel.

The last I read, Israel even, in contravention of international treaties, controlled and limited the mail going into Gaza.

And, week by week, Israelis literally steal their homes, their farms, and their water resources.

How on earth can you compare an economy under those circumstances to anything?

You cannot.

And wouldn’t it be amusing to watch the arrogant and unthinking Mr. Romney himself try running an efficient business under the circumstances Israel imposes on Palestinians, instead of benefitting from the freewheeling environment of the United States and his ability to shelter his earnings from taxes in the Cayman Islands?

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