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Does The Vatican Need A Quick Reactionary Force?

By Alan Kornman and Wallace Bruschweiler –

The events in Iraq by the Islamic State and other Islamist groups against Christians and  ‘others’ are only the last of a long (and very little reported) series of horrible “events” in Iraq, Syria, Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, Lebanon, Sudan, etc.

The Vatican has called on Muslim leaders to denounce unambiguously the persecution of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq – and ‘hinted’ that it is ‘considering’ breaking off dialogue with Islamic representatives if they fail to do so.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue said ISIS had committed “and was continuing to commit unspeakable criminal acts”. To reinforce the point, it listed some of the atrocities for which ISIS is reported to have been responsible. They included “the massacre of people solely for reasons of their religious adherence”; “the execrable practice[s] of decapitation, crucifixion and hanging of corpses in public places”; “the choice imposed on Christians and Yazidis between conversion to Islam, payment of a tax (jizya) and exodus”; “the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of people, including children, old people, pregnant women and the sick”; “the abduction of women and girls belonging to the Yazidi and Christian communities as war booty (sabaya)”, and “the imposition of the barbaric practice of infibulation”.

The Guardian reports, “Pope Francis gave an early indication of the Vatican’s hardening attitude last Sunday when he said that news from Iraq had left him “in dismay and disbelief”. Last Friday, the pope named Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy to the region. The cardinal was due to fly out on Tuesday after his departure was postponed on Monday, apparently because of security fears.”

How come ‘security fears’ of Cardinal Filoni are valid and not being applied to the rest of the ‘normal’ Christians?

St. Peter’s Doors Closed, Armed Neutrality

In September of 1943, the Nazis entered Rome and the gates of the Vatican were shut, and closed for the first time ever.  The doors of the Vatican are partially closed to the cries from hundreds of thousands of Christians being slaughtered, tortured, raped, and displaced by the followers of Islam fighting under the black flag of Jihad in Iraq, Syria, Middle East, and the world.

Pope Francis must realize the threshold of ‘prudential judgement’ to go to war has been crossed a long time ago. The Pope must acknowledge this fact by acting decisively, with no further delay, to engage the Islamist enemy wherever Christians are attacked and slaughtered.  For the Vatican to consider breaking off interfaith dialogue with Islamic representatives is feckless bluster.

Pope Francis can no longer hide behind the neutrality of the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City.  In today’s world, there is no active military force that will come to the aid of persecuted Christians with a singularity of purpose.

Conclusion

The so-called news media (written and TV) is either blind and deaf or just “politically correct”. The sleazy advances of violent Islamic extremists must be stopped before it is too late.

Action today is imperative.

The Vatican must utilize its vast resources in forming a Quick Reactionary Force (QRF) of mercenaries to protect and defend Christians wherever and whenever they are under attack around the world.

Wallice bruschweiler

Wallace Bruschweiler

ABOUT WALLACE BRUSCHWEILER

Wallace Bruschweiler, a quadri-linguist and subject matter expert on counter terrorism and national security issues. Over 30 years experience operating in Europe, Middle East, and North Africa.

White House: U.S. is not at war with the Islamic State

“Right now, ISIL’s primary focus is consolidating territory in the Middle East region to establish their own Islamic State.” Yes, but they have made it abundantly clear that that is not their only goal, and that they desire ultimately to strike inside the United States. We are not at war with them, but they most assuredly are at war with us.

“Airstrikes in Iraq: What You Need to Know,” by Ben Rhodes, White House Blog, August 11, 2014 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):

President Obama has authorized the U.S. military to execute targeted airstrikes in Iraq.

The President takes no decision more seriously than the use of military force. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to make sure you understand exactly what is happening in Iraq right now, who is involved, and why we are taking action. Here are a few answers to some key questions Americans may be asking:…

7. Is ISIL more dangerous than al-Qaeda right now?

While both are terrorist forces, they have different ambitions. Al-Qaeda’s principal ambition is to launch attacks against the west and U.S. homeland. That’s the direct threat that we have taken direct action against for many years. Right now, ISIL’s primary focus is consolidating territory in the Middle East region to establish their own Islamic State. So they’re different organizations with different objectives.

8. Are we at war with ISIL? Will we be sending troops back to Iraq?

No. There is no U.S. military solution to the larger situation in Iraq. The United States’ chief goals are to protect our personnel and facilities, and to prevent a potential act of genocide. That is the scope of these operations. As the President said, we will support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, but no American combat troops will be returning to fight in Iraq.

9. What’s our plan moving forward?

We will protect our citizens, and we will work with Iraqis and the international community to address the humanitarian crisis facing the Yezidi people.

As we carry out that mission, we will pursue a strategy that empowers Iraqi leaders to come together, forge an inclusive government, and build security forces that can fight back against threats like ISIL. The Iraqi people have named a new President, a new Speaker of Parliament, and a new Prime Minister–an important step towards forming a government that can unite communities in Iraq. The U.S. will work with this new government and other countries in the region on a broader counterterrorism strategy moving forward.

[Emphasis added]

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Islamic Slaughters and Short Memories

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

Obama said that on August 20, 2012 in remarks to reporters. Realizing that he was close to having to engage in some kind of military action against Bashar Assad, Syria’s dictator, he was bailed out by the Russians who stepped in to remove the stores of poison gas and then, except for the “red line” gaffe, everyone promptly forget about it.

The insurrection against Assad began in March 2011 and by September 2013 there were an estimated 120,000 dead Syrians and a million or more refugees. The conflict turned from local to regional as the extremist Islamic State (IS) emerged. It is backed by Iran and Turkey, but only for the purpose of defeating Assad, not for declaring itself the new caliphate.

IS is now in control of much of Syria’s northern region and has taken control of central Iraq, challenging Baghdad as well as its Kurdish sector. On Sunday Islamic State fighters overtook the Lebanese city of Arsal where 100,000 Syrian refugees had fled. There were attacks in Tripoli as well. There is no accounting for how many have been slaughtered by IS at this point.

On August 4, The Daily Star, Lebanon, reported “The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) group executed seven members of a single family from the Ismaili minority in the central Syrian province of Hama overnight, state media and an activist group said Monday. ‘An armed terrorist group committed a massacre in the Mzeiraa area near the town of Salmiya, killing seven people, including two aged 13 and 15 years old,’ Syrian state news agency SANA said.”

Three days earlier Breitbart News reported “The Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, told Palestine the terrorist group will join its fight against the ‘barbaric Jews’ but urged patience until ISIS is finished in Arab countries.”

So, according to the Islamic State, it is the Jews of Israel who are “barbaric” for defending themselves and their Arab citizens against rocket attacks from Gaza; land given to the Palestinians by Israel in 2005.

During the months when Hamas was firing thousands of rockets into Israel from Gaza there was a low level of coverage, but when Israel responded with Operation Protective Edge, it became front page news. Dead Palestinians always seem to be more important than dead Israelis even if they were forced by Hamas to serve as human shields for their rockets and their elaborate matrix of tunnels into Israel which exist solely to carry out its goal of destroying it.

Being Christian in the Middle East has proven to be deadly. When the Islamic State took control of Mosul, a city in which Christians had lived for centuries, they were given the choice of converting, paying a tax, or dying. The Islamic State has swiftly gained a reputation for murdering prisoners of war and anyone else they determine to be “hypocritical” or “apostate” Muslims. So being Muslim does not protect one from more fanatical Muslims and being Christian can be a death sentence.

In an August 4 Washington Post article, Ilias al-Hussani, 27, told its reporter, “They are savages. We’ve seen what they’ve done to people of their own faith. Imagine what they would do to us non-Muslims.” The article noted that Islamic State “now controls resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations.”

Who remembers the 246 girls kidnapped in April by Boko Haram in Nigeria and forced to convert? Or hears of their further attacks?

Despite having troops stationed in Afghanistan and having fought in Iraq, for Americans the Middle East is still someplace far away filled with people who are little more than statistics, but the Muslim jihad still poses a threat.

It is less far away for Europeans who have slowly awakened to the changes occurring and being demanded by the Muslims who emigrated there, many of whom to escape life in their own nations. As the Muslim population has grown in various European nations, it has begun to pose a threat to native-born citizens. Even so, the Israeli military operation unleashed a lot of Europe-based anti-Semitism and some showed up in the U.S. as well.

Does anyone know who the real enemy is any more?

There is going to be more news of slaughters in the Middle East because the Islamic State is going to challenge every nation there. Assad retains control over an estimated 40-60% of Syria. Iraq has been halved with just the south remaining. Lebanon will likely fall under IS control and that is bad news for the Christians who have lived there for centuries.

Jordan is girding for an attack. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are watching the situation with increasing apprehension.

The present Syrian conflict began in 2011 with an effort to remove Bashar Assad as other Middle East nations, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, had done with their despots during the so-called Arab Spring. In addition to Syria’s Assad, Iran supports Hamas, but Iran is a Shiite nation and the Islamic State is Sunni. The Sunnis are the majority of the Middle East’s Muslim population.

ISIS flag and fighters

ISIS flag and jihadi terrorists.

The Islamic State has been officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S., the U.K, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and the United Nations. It does not give much evidence of being concerned. It has access to millions in oil wealth and a growing military capability thanks in part to all the U.S. weapons that were abandoned by the Iraqis when they came under attack.

We cannot expect President Obama to engage the Islamic State. The term “Commander-in-Chief” has never been more misapplied to him than any President.

What we can expect is the continued expansion of the Islamic State and more news of the slaughter of Muslims and Christians.

Once Israel is through destroying Gaza’s tunnels and its store of rockets, it will have to turn its attention to the IS threat to Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and perhaps Turkey as well. It will make Gaza look like a picnic.

Recommended Reading: Palestine and Double Standards: The world is outraged by Israeli self-defense but only ‘concerned’ when Muslims kill Muslims – Wall Street Journal

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED ARTICLE: Iraq Christians flee as Islamic State takes Qaraqosh

Pat Condell: Hypocrisy over Gaza

Pat Condell once again exposes the truths that Leftists and Islamic supremacists are doing all they can to obscure.

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Back in Iraq? Foreign policy déja vù all over again by Doug Bandow

Little more than a decade ago, the United States invaded Iraq. The promised cakewalk turned out far different than expected. Today its government and entire state, created by Washington, are in crisis. Yet the same voices again are being raised calling for military intervention, with the promise that this time everything will turn out well.

Social engineers never seem to learn. It is hard enough to redesign and remake individuals, families, and communities in the United States. It is far harder to do so overseas.

Nation-building requires surmounting often vast differences in tradition, culture, history, religion, ethnicity, ideology, geography, and more. Doing so also requires suppressing people’s natural desire to govern themselves.

It doesn’t matter if Americans could do it better. With positions reversed they would insist that the foreigners, however well-meaning, leave them alone. Imagine if the French offered to—nay, insisted on—sticking around at the end of the Revolutionary War to “help” the backward colonials make a new nation. Guns would again be pulled down from fireplace mantles across the land!

Yet these days Washington continues to try to fix the world’s problems. In recent years the United States has deployed forces to Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Occupying these lands was in no case a military necessity. Nation-building has not turned out particularly well.

However, until now Washington at least has limited itself to one bout of society-molding per country. Reentering Iraq would be an attempted redo barely a decade after the first go. Rarely has a victorious war proved to be so fruitless and counterproductive so quickly.

Remember the original promises surrounding the Iraq operation? A quick, bloodless war would destroy dangerous weapons of mass destruction and “drain the swamp,” eliminating terrorism.The United States would guarantee a friendly, compliant government by imposing as president an exile who hadn’t lived in the country for decades. The new Iraq would implement democracy,eschew sectarian division, protect women’s rights, and even recognize Israel, while providing America bases for use in attacking neighboring states, including Iran, which with its Shia majority shared manifold religious, cultural, and personal ties with Iraq.

It was a wonderful wish list. Alas, it turned out to be pure fantasy. The conflict killed thousands and wounded tens of thousands of Americans, while killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and displacing millions more. The ancient Christian community was destroyed. The ultimate financial cost to the United States, including the expense of caring for those who sustained debilitating wounds, will likely run $3 trillion or more. The invasion stained the United States’s reputation, empowered Iran, and gave training to a new generation of terrorists.

Finally, Baghdad’s sectarian misrule wrecked national institutions and fostered the rise of an ugly Islamic totalitarianism. While the ISIL “caliphate” is likely to find it harder to actually rule than to claim to rule, the movement now calling itself the “Islamic State” seems capable of creating more than its share of human hardship along the way.

That’s quite an impact from that one little invasion so long ago. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

The obvious—indeed, only—policy for Americans is to run, not walk, away from the mess.

Yet many of the architects of the original disaster are back, advocating a second shot. Never mind the past, they argue. No need to cast blame, they assert. Everything was going swell before the new administration took over.

The President is putting in Special Forces. Many others advocate drone and air strikes. A few forthrightly call for boots on the ground. William Kristol and Frederick Kagan, for instance, want Washington to take on everyone: Defeat ISIL, force Baghdad government to include Sunnis, and make Iran withdraw its military aid. A three-sided war this time! What could possibly go wrong?

There’s no doubt that ISIL is a malignant force. But the United States should make clear to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Americans will not bail him out after his policies led to the ongoing catastrophe. Without political reform it is hard to see how Iraq can be saved.

Part of the political response must be to engage Sunni tribes and former Ba’athists who allied with ISIL to oust the national government from Sunni areas of Iraq. It is unlikely that they want to go back to the seventh century; in fact, they already are chafing under the group’s ruthless Islamic rule, as well as increased economic hardship after being “liberated” by a pretend nation state. Iraq’s Shia majority needs to propose reforms that offer Sunnis a better option than remaining in caliphate hell.

In any case, Washington should drop its insistence that Iraq stay together. Kurds are moving toward a vote for independence. Sunnis are deeply alienated. Baghdad’s Shiite leadership remains committed to narrow sectarian politics. Extensive federalism/partition may be the only way to prevent endless killing.

The United States also needs to stop supporting Syria’s opposition. Instead, the priority should be stopping ISIL, which gained its first victories, along with access to financial resources and military material, in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad is odious, but his dictatorship is not dedicated to destabilizing the entire region. If Washington further undermines Assad, it will inevitably help ISIL. Arming the moderate opposition, which so far has lost ground and weapons to the radicals, might do little more than end up further empowering ISIL.

Finally, American officials should invite allies, friends, and even adversaries to cooperate to contain ISIL. The group’s professed ambitions cover much of the Middle East. Numerous nations have good reason to isolate, sanction, and even strike ISIL. Turkey has a first-rate military. Jordan has a capable though fragile government, and a powerful incentive to act: It has been destabilized both by Arab Spring sentiments and by a refugee tsunami from Iraq and Syria, andit  is in ISIL’s gunsite.

Iran, though no friend, shares Washington’s antipathy toward ISIL and wants to preserve rule by its co-religionists in Iraq. Lebanon is even more vulnerable than Jordan. The Gulf states,including Kuwait, the emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, though mostly Sunni, also are targeted for subversion. Israel does not want to see a radical Islamist state, especially one that wrecks Jordan next door. These nations have different capabilities and interests, but all could help contain and ultimately roll back ISIL’s gains.

The Iraq war should have demonstrated beyond doubt that military intervention has unintended and unforeseen consequences, just like economic intervention. People devoted to individual liberties and limited government should be particularly skeptical of proposals to expand the state—after all, war is the biggest Big Government program—for the purpose of social engineering around the world.

The revival of civil war and veritable collapse of Iraq’s central state are tragedies, but not ones affecting vital American interests. The lesson from 2003 is clear: War truly should be a last resort, never just another policy tool to be used when convenient. The Iraqi imbroglio beckons the usual policy suspects, but the right response is to say, no, the Americans aren’t coming.

dougbandow3540ABOUT DOUG BANDOW

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of a number of books on economics and politics. He writes regularly on military non-interventionism.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of FEE and Shutterstock.

Bill Warner: A Voice for the Voiceless (+ video)

Voices for the Voiceless states, “It is a moral duty to speak and write about the greatest human rights crime today — persecution of religious minorities. There is a denial of this news. Those who should speak are SILENT in the face of terrible suffering.”

[youtube]http://youtu.be/TLs7PHFpMuI[/youtube]

 

The following is taken from the Voices for the Voiceless website:

SUFFERING

The greatest human rights violation today is the persecution of religious minorities. Christians are the largest numbers by far.

  • Half of Iraqi Christians have fled rather than die. Countless numbers of their churches have been destroyed.
  • Syrian towns that have been Christian for 2000 years are being annihilated.
  • The 1300 year march of terror against the Copts continues in Egypt today.
  • Christians jailed in Iran are tortured.
  • Christians and Hindus are persecuted to near annihilation in Pakistan.

Also Buddhists in Thailand, Hindus in India and Jews in Israel are routinely assaulted and murdered.

RESPONSE

It is a moral duty to speak and write about the greatest human rights crime today — persecution of religious minorities. There is a denial of this news. Those who should speak are SILENT in the face of terrible suffering.

  • Who are the persecuted?
  • What is their history?
  • Where is this happening?
  • Why is this persecution taking
    place?

WHY ARE YOU SILENT?

SILENCE IN THE FACE OF EVIL IS ITSELF EVIL

God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

MORALITY

Who do you stand for, the oppressors or the victims? Silence supports the oppressors. The highest moral position is to defend the victims who have no voice. There is no justice until we hear the voice of the victim. Will you become a voice for the voiceless?

WHAT DO WE WANT?

  • Speak out about the suffering of millions in the greatest human rights tragedy of our day.
  • Talk about how we can stop the suffering and murder of the persecuted.

WHAT MUST HAPPEN

  • The death cries of the daughters, sons, husbands, and wives must be heard.
  • Good people must become willing to talk about the suffering of religious minorities.
  • Stop the silence and report the facts every time.

There is no justice without hearing the voiceless. Then you must speak and act with courage.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Erica, blogger at the University of Washington.

UPDATE: Black Friday For Israel (Video and Photos Added)

It is Black Friday, November 23, 2012. While many are going shopping a group of Floridians will be gathering at 3:00 p.m. EST in Sarasota for the Solidarity Demonstration for Israel.

Among them will be Pastor Paul Scheele. Pastor Paul, Senior Pastor at Congregational United Church of Christ, has been serving congregations for over 30 years, the last 10 years in Bradenton. Florida. He was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and left there in 1960 to enroll in the U.S. Navel Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. While at the Navel Academy, Pastor Paul felt a powerful call to Christian Ministry and transferred to Lakeland College, a church related school in Wisconsin.

Pastor Scheele gave WDW an exclusive interview explaining why he supports Israel:

The Solidarity sponsor is the Sarasota/Manatee Jewish Federation (JFED). According to the JFED website, “Israel, like any other country in the world, has the right to self-defense in light of rocket attacks aimed at harming and killing innocent civilians in their homes, schools and hospitals.”

“For most of us, red is the color of roses, but for almost 13 years, Color Red is the code for danger for more than one million Israelis living near the Gaza Strip. It means you have 15 seconds to find a secure location before missiles hit”, notes the JFED Israel Advocacy website.

Howard Tevlowitz, Executive Director of the JFED, stated in a recent email, “As most of us sleep soundly in our beds in Sarasota, Bradenton, Longboat Key, Venice, Northport and Siesta Key – millions of Israelis are now regularly passing the hours of darkness in fear.”

Tevlowitz wrote, “If Hamas has the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, why do they engage in terrorism that is only counterproductive to peace? The answer is simple. Hamas targets Israel because it refuses to accept Israel’s existence as the democratic nation state of the Jewish people.”

UPDATE: The crowd at the Solidarity event was estimated at 500 people. Below are photos taken at the event. There were no counter protesters and the event was held peacefully and without incident. Attendees were of all faith, secular, all races and from all political parties.

View from stage.

View from back at the rally facing the stage

Supporters with signs

The JFED provided the below graphic to emphasize how vulnerable Israel is to rocket attack:

Click on map for larger view

Tevlowitz concludes by stating, “No government should, or would, tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people – over one million – live under a constant threat of fire, including Israel. Just like any other country, Israel has the inalienable right — indeed the obligation — to defend its citizens from attack. Yet, inexplicably, some still question it.”

Exclusive interviews with SE Florida residents courtesy of METV and the JFED:

Gov. Romney Is Correct Cultural Differences Explain Israeli Economic Success

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has stated that Governor Mitt Romney was correct to note, as he did during a fundraiser dinner in Jerusalem, that Israeli culture plays a large part in Israel’s superior economic performance over the Palestinians.

Governor Romney said “Culture makes all the difference … 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 … As you come here and you see the G.D.P. per capita, for instance, in Israel, which is about $21,000, and compare that with the G.D.P. 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. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.”

Palestinian Authority (PA) official Saeb Erekat has denounced Governor Romney’s statement as “racist.” Erekat said, “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 … It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people” Ashley Parker & Richard A. Oppel, ‘Romney Trip Raises Sparks at a 2nd Stop,’ New York Times, July 30, 2012).

ZOA National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, “Governor Romney was correct to observe that culture plays a decisive role in economic performance. In particular, he was right to note that this has produced widely divergent results in economic performance between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“Israel has a culture of private enterprise, competition, innovation and technology and has had it since its earliest days. In contrast, the PA has been bedeviled from its inception with crony capitalism, endemic corruption, distortions of the market and other malpractices which also affect its economy in drastic ways, not least in the loss of foreign investor confidence.”

“Israeli society is characterized by religious, economic and personal freedom. By contrast, the PA is unsafe for political dissidents or religious or sexual minorities. Bethlehem, under PA control since 1995, has seen its traditionally Christian population dwindle to less than 20%. In Hamas-controlled Gaza, there has been an even sharper flight of Christians. And Palestinian gays who wish to live without fear of death or imprisonment often have only one option: refuge in Israel. It makes sense that a society with Israel’s open and broadly liberal culture would be more stable, better educated, attract greater investment and produce more and better goods.

“Palestinian culture is also afflicted with incitement to hatred and murder, glorification of violence and terror. One only has to look at PA TV programs, radio broadcasts and media features to see that it is the terrorist, not the entrepreneur, who is honored. The PA doesn’t name streets, schools and sports teams after scientists and inventors. It names them after suicide bombers and jailed terrorists.

“In the PA, as the ZOA has pointed out on many occasions, a public square, a summer camp for youth, a computer center and several events have been named in honor of Dalal Mughrabi, who led the terrorists who carried out the 1978 coastal road terrorist attack on an Israeli bus, murdering 37, including a dozen children.

Many Americans will recall that Palestinian enthusiasm for terrorism extends beyond Israel to the U.S., as those Americans who saw on their TV screens Palestinians celebrating the 9/11 attacks need no reminder.

“Saeb Erekat claims that Governor Romney’s statement was racist. This is predictably absurd: there was no reference in Governor Romney’s comparison of Israel and the Palestinians to religion or ethnicity, let alone race. He referred to culture, which indeed can make a major difference. A society which aspires to terrorism and ‘martyrdom’ rather than innovation and wealth-creation is going to perform poorly by comparison in the economic sphere.

“Erekat objects that the PA cannot perform well economically because it is under ‘occupation.’ Some people cannot live without alibis and need to blame others for failure, as Erekat does here. But the facts repudiate this shop-worn, opportunistic charge. Before the PA was established – in other words, when the areas now controlled by the PA were under Israeli control – economic growth was steady among Palestinians. Economic performance tapered off immediately after the PA assumed control in 1994, following the Oslo Accords, and all the attendant problems mentioned earlier came into play.”

“Even then, the PA was doing better in the mid-1990s than it was to do after 2000, when it launched a terrorist war against Israel. Naturally, joint projects, Israeli (and much foreign) investment came to a halt and the resultant hostilities destroyed or damaged much infrastructure. You can have war, but rarely can you have war and development. The Israeli economy also suffered from this war but, because of the general soundness of Israel’s economic culture, it recovered much more quickly once Palestinian terrorism was brought under control.”

“On this point, Governor Romney is right and his critics are wrong.”

NOTE: On May 1, 2012 the author returned from a 10 day visit to Israel and observed the vibrant economy and prosperity in the Israeli community he visited.

RELATED COLUMN:

Culture Does Matter by Mitt Romney in the National Review