Mitt Romney's visit to Israel unintentionally highlighted a parallel between the philosophical differences dividing Israel and the Palestinians, and those dividing Romney and Obama.
There is an old joke about a threat of another flood consuming the Earth to rival that occurring during Noah's time. An Italian, a Frenchman and an Israeli are having coffee together talking about the impending flood. Each of them contemplates what they will do for the next six months until the flood comes. The Italian says that in the next six months, he will drink the finest wines, listen to the greatest operas and pray for a miracle. The Frenchman says that in the next six months, he will eat the finest foods, sleep with the finest women and go out in style. They turn to the Israeli and ask him what he will do in the next six months. He replies, matter of factly, that in the next six months, "I will learn to live under water."
Since 1948, Israel has been surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war, with a military budget far exceeding the percentage of its GDP of any nation. Yet, in that time, Israel has built a technology industry that, considering its size, is second to none. It has built a military that remains superior to that of its enemies. It has, as has been said so often, made the desert bloom. It has learned to create fresh water where there is none. It has a thriving economy far stronger than most in Europe. It deals with daily bombings of its citizens and moves forward to continue to survive, to continue to grow, to continue to develop. Despite being attacked as an "apartheid state," it has many Arab members of its Knesset, its parliament, who constantly attack the very existence of the nation, without repercussion. Many of these Arab members are women. You won't find women in the parliaments of any Moslem nation and would be hard-pressed to find Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus or members of any other religions in the parliaments of any Moslem nation. Yet, incongruously, it is Israel that is attacked as being violative of Human Rights.
Contrast that with the Palestinians and you have a remarkable model with which to contrast Obama and Romney. While touring Israel, Romney stated, according to the Israeli site, YnetNews.com, "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." To this, the Chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, stated, "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." Of course, it is Israel's fault.
This parallels Obama's views that the last four years of our economy are Bush's fault, the fault of the tsunami, the fault of the European economic crisis, the fault of Congress and, apparently, the fact that the moon has migrated out of the seventh house and Jupiter is no longer aligned with Mars.
Mr. Erekat, by the way, considers himself a native Palestinian despite being born in what was then officially Jordan.
Palestine, it should be noted, has received more foreign aid from around the world than any nation on Earth. According to the United States Institute for Peace, Palestinians received more aid per capita than any nation on earth up to 2006. The takeover by Hamas, a terrorist organization, cut some of the funding from sources around the world. Of course, Erekat doesn't blame Hamas, or the fact that since Oslo, the PLO has not taken a single recognizable step towards peace, the underlying basis for the foreign aid. They are living off of handouts and bemoaning the fact that they do not receive more. They are living in a welfare economy.
The parallels to Obama's vision are sadly quite apparent. Under Obama, more people are living in poverty than at any time since the Depression. Under Obama more people are on food stamps than at any time in our history. Obama's reaction to this is not to create jobs, not to build an economy, or even to attempt to invigorate it. Obama's remedy, like that of the Palestinian Authority, is to take more money from the wealthy and give it to the poor, making the poor even more dependent and even less likely to create a financial structure that is self-supporting.
Romney's view of the Middle East is identical to that of Israel's. If the world is to be flooded, you learn to live under water. If there is a worldwide financial crisis, you learn to thrive even in the face of that crisis. Obama's empathy to the Palestinians may find its roots in an identical view of social interaction. If you are facing difficult times, you blame others and demand that others take care of you. You do not attempt to pick yourself up, to become independent, to solve your own problems.
Romney praises the Israeli miracle. Of course, it is not a miracle. It is the expected result from hard work, dedication, and a refusal to believe that the rest of the world will solve its problems. A nation of people who survived the world looking the other way when the Nazi Holocaust attempted that people's genocide is not inclined to rely on anyone but themselves to meet their security and economic needs. Israel's philosophy is understandably in line with Romney's. On the other hand, the Palestinian people, claiming the rights to a nation that never existed, refuse to take any steps to bring about peace B which itself would enhance their economic development. They choose to rely solely on foreign aid while their leaders take much of their foreign aid and skim it off into their own personal fortunes. They have never seen the need to build their own futures, relying on the United Nations, the Arab League and others. The Palestinian leadership has never learned to grow a nation, to develop it, to allow their people to prosper. They never will while walking in lockstep with Obama's philosophy that individual effort is to be condemned and taxed, not rewarded, and that the dependency on a dwindling supply of generosity and resources is the wave of the future.
Romney's travels to Israel did more than just present a posture for Jewish voters back home. It highlighted the difference between his philosophy of rewarding effort and Obama's of stealing that effort to hand to people who have not made the effort. Romney's visit to Israel highlighted the difference between a people who knew they had to make it on their own and did so, and a people who have always demand that the world hand them what they haven't earned and to which they have established no entitlement.
It is the difference between a philosophy of living under water, or just drowning.