I wrote on Friday that ahead of his visit to Israel, Mitt Romney seemed set to offend Palestinian and wider Arab sensibilities on the delicate issue of Jerusalem, by referring to the city as the country’s capital.In his speech overlooking the Old City, Romney did in fact refer to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but in a pretty careful and calibrated fashion that didn’t really go much further than previous presidential candidates before him.
But in his comments at a fundraiser
Sunday evening Monday morning with well-heeled donors (chief among them current GOP mega-moneyman Shelden Adelson) Romney promptly disabused anyone of the notion that he either fully appreciates, or is terribly concerned with the punishing realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a salute to Israel’s economic growth, Romney compared the GDP of his hosts to that of the Palestinian territories as though they were just any old neighboring countries. “As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” he said.
Romney (who actually grossly overestimated Palestinian GDP) made no mention of the Israeli occupation, and its restrictions over Palestinian life as being perhaps somewhat determinative in the economic disparity he lauded as a sign of Israel’s success.
Benjy Sarlin has our report.