The cycle of perpetual outrage and victimhood continues.
Mitt Romney pointed out something obvious, that Israel has a record of economic success unmatched by those under Palestinian Authority control, attributing it to cultural and other factors:
“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,” the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who breakfasted around a U-shaped table at the luxurious King David Hotel….
The economic disparity between the Israelis and the Palestinians is actually much greater than Romney stated. Israel had a per capita gross domestic product of about $31,000 in 2011, while the West Bank and Gaza had a per capita GDP of just over $1,500, according to the World Bank….
“And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the “hand of providence.”
Horrors! That’s racist!
The reaction of Palestinian leaders to Romney’s comments was swift and pointed.
“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,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
No, Romney did not say that there is anything genetic about the Palestinians which has made them less successful, he simply mentioned cultural and other factors.
Doesn’t culture matter? Doesn’t the fact that Israel has a culture focused on high tech and scientific education and entrepreneurship matter?
In terms of inventions Israelis have given the world the Uzi, the mobile phone (partly), camera chips for phones, SMS messaging and the first anti-virus software; Israel has the highest percentage of home computers per capita and the third most educated workforce on earth, with 12 per cent holding advanced degrees. The country also has more engineers and scientists per capita than any other country around the world, and has more companies quoted on the high-tech NASDAQ stock exchange than any other country outside the United States, more than all of Europe, India, and China combined.
In the last ten years Israeli scientists have won five Noble prizes in the sciences, a tally bettered by only four other nations, while per capita Israel produces more economists than any other country.
Israel also publishes a huge number of Scientific and Technical Journal Articles, some 16,470 in 2005, more than the entire Arab world and Iran combined. And the Jewish state produces an astonishing number of inventors. Last year in the United States Israelis registered 1917 patents, just below Italy (58 million people) and the Netherlands (15 million) and way ahead of its neighbours Saudi Arabia (58) Turkey (45) Egypt (20) Kuwait (14) UAE (9) Iran (8) Lebanon (5) Jordan (1) and Syria (0). Israel itself grants 2500 patents a year, putting it in the top 20 of all countries and again more than all its neighbours combined. Israel is number one in the world for medical device patents per capita and number four for biotechnology patents per capita. And its biotechnology exports are now worth $6 billion a year.
How else to explain why Israel, but not Egypt or Jordan or Syria or the Palestinian controlled areas — or even most of the non-Arab world — excels like Israel?
Here’s one of today’s headlines in science, Molecular transistors to help tablets replace laptops:
A Tel Aviv University researcher recently found a clever solution to these problems [of limits on miniturization of electronics].
Doctoral student Elad Mentovich, under the supervision of Dr. Shachar Richter of the chemistry department and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, explained that the continuing miniaturization of silicon technology has made it difficult to build large computer memory, especially because of the difficulty in miniaturizing the capacitors used to store the data.
Mantovich used carbon molecules called 60C (meaning 60 carbon atoms) to build a tiny, sophisticated memory transistor that is able to transfer and store energy and completely eliminate the need for a capacitor. It can store both an electric charge and information at the same time A capacitor (originally known as a condenser) is a passive two-terminal electrical component used to store energy in an electric field.
There is nothing racial or genetic about Israel’s success. Adjacent Arab countries and territories could be as economically successful, if they focused less on destroying Israel.