Mitt Romney turned heads last Sunday when, at an event in Jerusalem, he reaffirmed that city’s status as Israel’s sovereign capital, and extolled the virtues of Israeli/Jewish culture, citing them as a factor in the Jewish State’s economic success. For emphasis, he compared the average per capita GDP among Israelis versus that for Palestinians. No sooner had the words escaped his lips than the criticism came pouring in from the western media, the Palestinians themselves, and even as far away as China. Although he said nothing about “Palestinian culture” as such, critics say that his comments denigrated it as inferior to that of Israel, revealing Romney as a racist, and potentially setting the stage for war.
The fact is, Romney did no such thing. At no point did he say, or imply that Palestinian culture is inferior. But that’s okay, we’ll do it for him:
Palestinian culture is vastly inferior to Israeli culture.*
*Some important disclaimers: We are by no means saying that Palestinians are inferior to other human beings, Israeli or otherwise. They are no less intelligent, no less physically capable, and no less made b’tzelem Elokim (in the image of G-d) than any other members of the human race. But Palestinian “culture”? Its inferiority is a no-brainer, and we’re not afraid to say it.
Let us not forget that Palestinian national identity is a modern invention, developed as a foil to Zionism. For the sake of accuracy, to reflect which flags really flew over Gaza, Judea and Samaria before ‘48, we prefer the term “Jordyptian.” (Full disclosure: Israeli nationalism is every bit as made up as that of the Palestinians, but nobody says that Israel is the ancient Israeli homeland; rather it’s the historic and spiritual homeland of the Jews, the Israelites, and this is the basis of Israeli national identity.)
Just as we can thank Jewish culture for Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit and emphasis on education, we can probably thank Palestinian culture at least in part for the fact that theirs is the only refugee population in the history of mankind to actually grow over the last half-century. As horrible as living under Zionist oppression must be, I find it hard to believe that Israeli rule is a sufficient condition to create this unique, unprecedented situation.
But more important than its lack of pedigree, and the eternal refugee mentality it has inspired, is the content of the culture itself. Children are being taught that embracing death is an acceptable alternative to progress, and that genocide is a form of martyrdom. Last time we checked, “martyrdom” and “murder” were as far apart in meaning as two words can be – somehow the Palestinians have re-written the dictionary, referring to suicide terror attacks as “martyrdom operations.” Hey I guess they’ve had a cultural impact after all!