Dear Senator McCain: you’re dead wrong, it *is* the culture

**Posted by Phineas

And I write that with all due and genuine respect for a man who suffered much for his country and was a true leader to the men who were prisoners of war with him.

But, this is just utterly wrong:

It’s government, “not cultures” that define the difference between Israelis and Palestinians. That’s according to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who appeared to differ with presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney as he tried to defend him.

“I am sure that Gov. Romney was not talking about difference in cultures, or difference in anybody superior or inferior,” said McCain, a chief Romney foreign policy surrogate, today during a news conference after an event here with Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “What I’m sure Gov. Romney was talking was that the Israeli economy has grown and prospered in a dramatic fashion. And unfortunately, the Palestinians have not had that same economic development.

“And that goes to the leadership of the Palestinians. Everybody knows that Yasser Arafat was corrupt. And we also know that the Palestinian people have not been blessed with the kind of government that has lower regulations, less taxes, entrepreneurship, which have caused the Israeli economy to be one of the world’s most successful. It has nothing to do with cultures. It has nothing to do with superiority or inferiority. But facts of the booming Israeli economy has to do with the kind of government that the Israeli people have freely and democratically elected which has given them a very prosperous country.”

McCain noted he had not seen or heard Romney’s remarks, but that didn’t stop him from defending what Romney meant.

He has it exactly backwards: culture determines the type of society a nation has and shapes its form of government. Both are a reflection of the values of that society. Western civilization, which includes Israel, echoes the Judeo-Christian/Greco-Roman and, yes, for parts, Anglo-Saxon values that shaped it. It is a culture that values the individual and individual liberty, fosters initiative and wealth-creation, and that recognizes life is precious and not something to be taken carelessly. (1)

Arab Islamic culture on the other hand… What has it given the world lately? Dictatorship? Kleptocracy? Contempt for democracy? The near-enslavement of women? Honor killings? Suicide bombings? “We are going to win, because they love life and we love death“?

You want an example of the difference in cultures, Senator? Here’s just one from among hundreds. Israelis fight to save the life of a mother and child, even though they come from their sworn enemies. Palestinians murder Israeli children in their sleep, and the culture celebrates the killers as heroes.

Those values ripple throughout the respective cultures, and you can bet your bottom dollar they make a difference.

Natan Sharansky wrote a brilliant book called “The Case for Democracy.” In it he discusses the difference between what he calls “free societies” and “fear societies.” The Israelis are an example of the former, the Palestinians the latter, and the differences explain why, as Mitt Romney pointed out, Israel is successful, while “Palestine” is a failure.

You should read it, Senator. You might for once know what you’re talking about.

But I guess that’s a bit much to expect from a man who doesn’t even bother to check what his party’s nominee said before bloviating on it.

via Slublog

(1) Yeah, far from perfect, but also far better than the alternatives.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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