Despite Rachel Shabi’s claims, political culture does affect social and economic outcomes

A guest post by Gidon Ben-Zvi, who blogs at Jerusalem State of Mind

As it turns out, Mitt Romney – and, of course, the rich Jewish donors who support him – are racist.

The presumptive Republican presidential candidate has invoked the wrath of Palestinian officials for suggesting that Israel’s culture is superior to the Palestinians.

By claiming that Israel’s economic prosperity is due in part to culture and “the hand of providence”, Romney is apparently buying into a “… standard-issue, superiority-complex racism,” according to  CiF contributor Rachel Shabi’s latest piece, ‘Mitt Romney’s insult-the-world tour excels on picking on the Palestinians‘, July 31.

Shabi sums things up by writing that “…Romney thinks that Palestinians are screwed because Israelis have a better culture and a better god.”

The sad fact is that much of the Muslim and Arab world is in a state of economic malaise—fueled by high unemployment, massive illiteracy and anemic GDPs. These societies are in the vice-like grip of a cultural hostility toward religious freedom and pluralism . As a result, the potential of  such nations is shackled.

 It can’t be denied that many of the countries with the worst records on religious freedom – Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, the Maldives, North Korea, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, etc. – also have terrible economies.

And the importance of freedom of conscience to the stability and economic well-being of the state is based on historical precedent. Rising prosperity across Europe during the 17th century had a significant impact on religious mentalities. The flourishing of trade and rising living standards occurred alongside the rapid growth of religious sects, undercutting the fear that spiritual disunity invited divine judgment. Whereas prosperity and toleration had once been seen as mortal enemies, the economic dynamism of religiously tolerant states provided a new paradigm: prosperity and religious freedom were now seen as twins.

Yet, despite this strong, documented correlation, Ms Shabi insists on blaming the economic plight of the Palestinian people on “… Israeli restrictions on access to markets and to natural resources [that] continue to be a prerequisite for the expansion of the Palestinian private sector.”

To back up her assertion, Ms Shabi rolls out the big guns: World Bank and IMF. Yet citing these organizations is quite problematic.

The World Bank has had a tendency over the years to base its reports on the state of the Palestinian economy on the claims and allegations of organizations with a long history of one-sided and inaccurate reporting, reflecting political and ideological bias in relation to Israel. Some World Bank reports about the Palestinian economy contain no original research by this august body.

Regarding the IMF, Ms Shabi must have forgotten that it was Israel that in early 2012 sought a $1 billion IMF bridging loan for the Palestinian Authority, but  was turned down because the organization feared setting a precedent of making IMF money available to non-state entities.

As it turns out, it is in Israel’s own national interest to avoid the security deterioration that could accompany a financial collapse of the government in the West Bank.

Now, Ms Shabi is correct in her assumption that the Palestinian economy could get a boost if restrictions on the movements of Palestinians were removed.

However, Ms Shabi’s depiction of a victimized Palestinian populace is grossly lacking in historical context. Like any other country, Israel must balance humanitarian and economic needs with the very real security concerns of its citizens. Barriers, checkpoints and other limitations on mobility are an unfortunate yet vital necessity. 

Until the security dynamics significantly change, however, the best that can be hoped for is the easing of restrictions on movement – dependent, of course, on the diminution of security threats. And Israel has made concerted efforts to oblige.

In 2010, for example, Israel issued more than 651,000 entry permits to West Bank residents wishing to travel to Israel, an increase of 42 percent over 2009. In 2009-10, Israel removed more than 200 roadblocks and reduced the number of manned checkpoints from 41 to 14.

Ms Shabi’s commentary is one part ‘blame Israel’ rhetoric and one part ‘culture of victimization’ doublespeak.

For decades, it’s been an article of faith around Western halls of academe to view the local populations of the Middle East Arabs as the hapless victims of alien encroachment, and to blame the region’s endemic malaise on Western political and cultural imperialism.

Such a warped worldview does a terrible injustice to Palestinians and other oppressed peoples, who must live under the yoke of tin pan dictators and autocrats who dismiss political and religious freedoms as ethnocentric luxuries.

Until a culture of prosperity grounded in freedom takes root across the Arab and Muslim world, hundreds of millions of people will continue to wallow in poverty and intellectual stagnation. The human need to blame someone for this horrific fate will perpetuate the culture of outrage towards the ‘other’ that has been molded and used by corrupt leaders to channel their citizens’ justifiable rage outward.

95 replies »

    • Can you please explain how the atrocities committed in Syria give the Government of Israel the right to military occupy four million Palestinians, to submit 1.6 million of them to a dire blockade and to build settlements on land confiscated from the Palestinian people in violation of international law?

  1. when a culture subjegates logic, reason and rationality to nationalistic or religious aimes all bets are off. When a people are not educated in good schools and are more loyal to their family or tribe as opposed to the state we are entering chaos.
    Had the Arabs no oil they’d still be mostly an agrarian culture with some trade. This obscene wealth which has paid for decades of terror and Palestinian pig headedness is a curse.

    • What is even harder for them to accept is that what economic growth there has been has been due precisely to the existence of Israel alongside them, providing jobs and markets for the West Bank Arabs. The moment Israel had to prevent Arabs from Gaza and the WB working in Israel, or building “settlements”, the economies of those areas went into a tailspin.

      See the Guardian article blaming wife-beating in Gaza by Angela Robson for an unintended but explicit demonstration of this. Without Israel they have almost no economy.

    • When a country militarily occupies another country and confiscated its land to build settlements on it in violation of international law, you cannot expect the world to remain silent.

      • What “country” has Israel occupied?
        “Ben”/”Nat”, we’ve been over the lying part, don’t you know it’s explicitly forbidden under the IVth GC, and the Hague Conv.? … 😀

      • Oh for goodness’ sake. So nobody can criticize anyone now for fear of being called “racist”. Grow up, Benyamin. There are plenty of real examples of racism around. No need to make them up.

        • What if someone were to make gross generalisations like Daniels about Jews/Zionists/Israelis?

  2. Without taking sides at all on the Obama-Romney election, it is clear that the Obama administration believes that a democratic political system, which they are proposing is the proper way to run countries like Libya, Egypt and Syria, is a better political system than a repressive dictatorship, shich is pretty much standard for the Arab countries.

    But what is a political system if not a reflection of a society?

    So in fact, if they would only admit it, they, like most thinking people, would have to agree that the problems the Palestinians face, as with the Arab countries in the ME, are societal, and therefore, cultural.

    In a similar way, and apropos the book Romney referenced and much additional research, and in a way completely opposite to what Romney and conservatives believe, the economic stagnation in Latin America has been blamed, correctly I believe, on the difference between the closed legal system in those countries. The Latin system tends to restrict innovation and enterprise in favor of conservatism and fancy red stamps made of sealing wax on innumerable documents (and if you think I am joking, I am not) , and the open British and American system, which tend to promote change and innovation.

    As the legal system there, particularly in Brazil, has started to change, economic growth has improved. A change in the legal system can only occur when there is a change in the culture.

    Yet I haven’t seen anyone jumping up and down and screaming about racism when that research has been published.

    E.g., for a quick comparison:

    Most Latin American legal systems are based on civil law
    Civil codes, based on Spanish or Portuguese civil law
    In theory, court decisions apply only to the parties to the case, only to interpret statutes
    No stare decisis, no fact pattern analysis
    Few case reporters
    Official Gazettes include new laws, regulations, legislative background, important cases
    Caselaw is becoming more important in many civil law countries, citations may appear in secondary works
    Treatises and law reviews important: citations to authoritative legal scholars
    Compare with the U.S.
    Common law
    Judicial decisions form precedents, cases analyzed based on fact patterns
    Statutory law is only part of the law

  3. Culture is not race. The latter is a superficial quality, the former is a big part of who we are and how we do things.

  4. By the way, this is all speculation. Association is not an indicator of cause and effect. (Incidentally, you meant ‘affect’ not ‘effect’ in the headline.)

    So, provide some serious academic evidence for the theory that culture affects economic outcomes and we can have a discussion.But otherwise you’re just speculating. And that is racist.

    • Sanity,
      Have you ever been to an Arab country that has no oil? And the oil haves, have no significant economic output apart from oil. You want academic proof? Where are the Arab scientists? The Nobel prize winners? The authors? The arab film makers? The Arab business men, no women, who have made big deals without oil wealth? Maybe you can list some Arab economic over achieves here? Or academics, please! How come when I get on an Arab air line nearly all the staff I see are non Arab? Why don’t you read , written by Arabs for Arabs. pretty nasty stuff when it comes to creativity and social dynamics.

      • Daniel,
        You must understand that in Sanity’s sick world to label something (anything) as “racist” is to score points.

    • So, provide some serious academic evidence for the theory that culture affects economic outcomes

      What do you want – a 100-page treatise on the subject?

      I would say that – just as one example – respecting and integrating women into crucial domains of society has positive economic effects (not that this is the primary reason I’d cite in championing said cause). Western societies have certainly benefited from this factor – and Israel thrived on it from the off.

    • Another obvious observation would be the Palestinans penchant for residing in ‘refugee camps’ instead of pulling their fingers out and getting a life. I think the Arab region is even less productive than sub Saharan Africa. But it is all here ……….

      • the Palestinans penchant for residing in ‘refugee camps’ instead of pulling their fingers out and getting a life

        What kind of talk is that?

        Grow up FFS.

    • But otherwise you’re just speculating. And that is racist.

      Speculating is racist? You couldn’t make it up…
      For you sanity thinking must be racist too…

    • Why don`t you provide some hard facts instead of supposing speculation, or can`t you provide?

    • . Here is your ‘evidence’. UN evidence.
      Another bit of evidence are illiteracy rates of up to 50% in Arab/Muslim countries. Why don’t you do a tiny bit of research? You might learn something you don’t know yet. You know, like some Arabs. Reading is fun!

      • This is all very interesting, but it tells us nothing about caause and effect, UN documents are not academic.

        I will even settle for something that proves David Landes’s theory in a different context. Is there any evidence anywhere that proves the Weber theory (that Landes and Rmoney love) of cultural effects on economy? No, there isn’t.

        • The UN goes well into the causes of the cluster f* which are the Arab economies. Read the reports. It’s all there.,plenty of statistics. But save yourself the reading , get on a plane and go see Arab reality for yourself. One of the many things that always gets me is the lack of or minor female presence in public life. When you effectively screw 50% of the more intelligent population you are in for a rough ride, culturally.

          • So what you’re saying is to hell with academics! I’m right! I know it! Stampety stamp of my little old feet. Now let me play with my toys!

            I don’t disagree that Arab economies are screwed. I have visited many of them many times. THe question old friend is what is the CAUSE.


            • I have. I have come to a conclusion. And it has nothing to do with the Jews or the CIA or MI6 or whateva. How about applying some basic common sense. Or do you mean Finkelstein?

              • No, I don’t mean Finkelstein. I mean any academic published in a respected peer-reviewed academic journal.

                But I guess your old common sense is better than all of that ‘technical’ stuff.

                    • Yes, completely. The subject on this particular tangent was about providing academic evidence (from anywhere) for the proposition that culture affects economics (rather than the other way around, for example). Then Daniel startes to denigrate Arab universities. Which is a different subject completely.

                      So, QED.

                    • Sanity,
                      You are missing your own irony here. Arabs themselves are denigrating themselves. And the fact that academia fails within Arab culture is another academic fact which proves that culture effects economics. But you don’t want to agree on this. This is less about academic discourse and more you failing to accept obvious and blatant facts.

                • Like I said, illiteracy rates up to 50%. That is academic . Ask an economist what that does to your GDP. Or when for some ‘strange’ reason most of he middle class leaves a nation.or when young men drown in the seas when they will die just to get a job in the EU or any other better place. I have been reading reports about how egyptian diplomas are sometimes worthless because they were bought from the teacher.

                  • No Daniel. None of what you have said so far is academic. What you are doing is trying to draw complex causal relationships. They may exist. Certainly that’s Rmoney’s argument. However, you need to use figures and statisitics if you want to prove it. Or second best, reference one single academic article from a good university published in a peer-reviewed journal. Otherwise you are talking garbage.

                    • The most laughable thing with antisemites like sanity that they refer to academic expert opinions (or the lack of them) without having the slightest idea about the subject and its scholarly background. Sanity tell please the name Max Weber does ring any bell? Or he (called the father of socoiology) is not an academic but a paid henchman of the US republicans and their Zionist masters? It is very amusing to see you making a bigger fool of yourself when after your previous posts it seemed a mission impossible…

                    • Sanity, figures and statistics? The Warsaw Pact v. The west. The third world v. The first world. Thailand v. Germany. Pakistan v. France.
                      Loads of statistics there. Water tight. Culture dictates economic performance. I just proved it.

                    • Peterthehungarian, you are a lowlife piece of detritus who I will no longer discuss with since you called me an antisemite. F*** off.

                    • Wrong, insane, he does not call you an anti-Semite, he states the fact that you are an anti-Smeite.

                  • Academic paper on the impact of corruption
                    A cursory google search reveals many papers on the topic.
                    Here is a paper on educational corruption and growth from Yale:
                    please google: Effect Of Corruption In Economic Growth .

                    SANITY, you are a troll.

                    To honestly suggest that there are no correlations would mean dishonesty makes for good economics. Which would mean numbers lie. Having lived in corrupt Asian countries I can attest to the disabling and deeply damaging effect of corruption. In IMO corruption is as dangerous has a low level armed conflict, the drugs trade and human trafficking. For me ultimately corruption is deeply ingrained in some ‘local’ cultures. Corruption has to do with power, violence, education and social power structures. Also a cultures relationship with written law is important.

                    • Did either of these papers make it into journals? No. They are rejected working papers. That is, during peer review they were deemed not to meet riforous academic standards.

                      Thanks for sharing your opinion. Unfortunately it wasn’t right this time. Better luck next time!!!

            • Sanity, when you are not blaming the Jews / Zionists – which incidentally is racist, you sound quite normal. For once you actually seem to be having an academic argument for which evidence is key. Shame you don’t consistently apply this logic in the blame Israel game, instead of contorting evidence and academia to fit your prejudices.

              • Thank you for the first part. I don’t blame Jews / Zionists for anything. I blame right wing and left wing bigots for most things.

                • Sanity, are Ahmadinejad, Khaled Mashaal, Hasan Nasrallah, Bashar Assad, King Abdullah and Hugo Chavez left wing or right wing bigots?

                  And if people make excuses or ignore the above’s myriad bigoted actions and statements does this make them complicit in that bigotry?

            • Sanity,
              Arab Economies are ‘screwed’ because of tribalism, lack of democracy, violence, lack of women in the work place, lack of clear policies, lack of investment, bribes, nepotism, lack of education, lack of asking the right questions, Islamism/Arab Islam, paternalism and an inferiority complex larger than the Arabian desert. Another minus in Arab economies would be the expulsion of Jews from all Arab nations and of course Nassers ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Greek mercantile class in the fifties. That particular event cost Egypt more than all wars it lost against Israel.

        • You’ve asked for it, and so thou shalt have…(Even though I would sincerely appreciate your doing your own work, next time).
          Apparently, “Professor”, you’ve never heard of Google, before?

          And also:

          And further still:

          And we haven’t even started yet:

          (This one I personally recommend):

          And even more:

          Well, I think that this enough, with your brain on the verge of exploding from all this terminology and scientific argot…

          • Why don’t you give me a two sentence summary of each before we move on? The only relevant one is the Zingales et al. He’s the only top economist (beloved of Sarah Palin as a matter of fact) who you include in your citations. But anyway, first things first, do explain what these papers are arguing. Two sentences each. Brevity is a virtue.

            • Especially for non educated people like you brevity is all, reality is simple and wikipedia the bible.

            • “Professor”, am I to deduce, that you, a self-proclaimed paragon of Academia, can’t read?! :O Gasp! I hear that British universities now cater to the “undereducated” variety, but this is rather too much, wouldn’t you say ;-)?
              At any rate, all of the articles above(and not just Zingales, whose connection with Palin, or the relevancy thereof, I couldn’t ascertain), talk about the importance of ethics in proper business conduct:
              1. The Protestant/Christian model of inter-communal growth and prosperity.
              2. Burgeoning as a direct result of proper governmental, liberal, egalitarian conduit(i.e. combating corruption, see Georgia(the country, not the US state, dear “Professor”), as an excellent case study).
              3. (As in the case of the Japan, last link) Ethics and responsibility, as bridges between windfalls and equitable production/services.
              All of this, per the UNAHDR, is lacking and impeding economic advancement in the Arab world.

              Unfortunately, all of the aforementioned papers are mum over your chicanery, and lying habits…
              I blame the fluoridation of tap-water 😀

              • I’m really happy for you that you are an adept user of Google Scholar. To move forward however, I’m going to have to be tutor, and you’re going to have to be spotty undergrad.

                In the real academic world we value analysis above internet tomfoolery. When you say that ‘all of the above articles…talk about the importance of ethics in the proper conduct of business,’ you give the game away. For in fact, that is not what the Zingales article is about (you probably don’t understand it, for you probable don’t even know what an instrumental variable is). However, the argument that Mitt Romney was making was not about the ‘ethical conduct of business’. He was arguing that certain cultural variables have a causal and positive impact on economic outcomes, most importantly GDP growth.

                If you would like to tell me what the relevance of the papers you cite to this question is that would be great.

                • But, but… but… “Professor”, I thought you COULD read…
                  I really wanted to believe that! Golly, I DID! 😀
                  Apparently, as always, my most dire predictions about you have materialized: you’re a worse idiot, than I have ever imagined;
                  To wit:
                  If you had bothered to read the article, you would’ve noticed:
                  1. “…[E]mpirical papers show that the level of trust of a community affects economic performance (Knack and Keefer, 1996; Knack and Zak, 2001)”– Whereby trust, is correlated positively with Protestantism, Caucasians, &c….(You know, “Regression tests”, not that you would know what that is).
                  “…trust has a positive and statistically significant impact on the
                  probability of becoming an entrepreneur in an ordinary least squares regression (the Probit results are very similar)…”

                  2. Thrift & Savings:
                  “A remarkable insight emerges from these findings. The explanatory power of a cultural explanation for national saving is quite comparable in size to the power of the celebrated life-cycle model”(!)
                  3.“As this paper documents, cultural hypotheses can be rigorously tested and are economically important for fundamental economic issues like national rates of saving.”

                  The paper also details the importance of sensible, responsible institutions for economic growth and trust.(While you offered the truly idiotic claim-that shows precisely how “academic” you are-that Corruption has no effect on Eco. growth… My God, you ARE a moron).
                  As for the other articles, I point you to my bullets, above.
                  (Or of course, to the very equitable solution, of your learning to read; though in your case, I doubt that could ever happen :D).
                  Naturally, I still leave with some unresolved queries:
                  How does Nature beget nincompoops like yourself?
                  Is THERE something in the water, wherever you’re from?
                  What impels you to lie so adamantly, even AFTER you have been exposed?
                  Perhaps Schiller said it best: “Against stupidity, even the Gods contend in vain!”
                  Stay classy, “Professor” 😀
                  (And stop trolling… you’re terrible at it).

                  • Trust is positively correlated with Protestantism, Caucasians, &c according to you? You have a regression you care to show us for that? Better still would be experimental data. What causes trust?

                    What is the cultural explanation for national savings? Is nationail savings a variable that can be accurately measured and one that has a causal impact on anything? Is it true that investment = savings? Or is that identity actually a fallacy?

                    Which bullets are you talking about exactly?

                    Good luck with the ctrl+F!!

                    • “Trust is positively correlated with Protestantism, Caucasians, &c according to you? You have a regression you care to show us for that”
                      According to me? ; No; according to Zingales(whom you apparently trust):
                      Figure 1, in the article…(Here’s my quandary though, to understand it, you’d have to detach from whatever mental illness is preventing you from imbuing knowledge, and READ the article, via the link provided);
                      “You have a regression you care to show us for that”-Of course, LIKE I SAID, IN THE A-R-T-I-C-L-E: Figure 3., and Table 1.
                      As for your rather dull philosophical ripostes: “What causes trust? Whence do we come, and whither we go? How was life created on earth?” and innately in your case: “Why doesn’t anyone like me?”(Interestingly, that HAS an answer :D); That’s not for me to respond… Those are questions for Sociologists. A correlation and linkage exists, you can’t deny that. All the papers above(to name just a few), demonstrate that(that there is a connection).
                      Which bullets? Do these ring any bells?:

                      “1. The Protestant/Christian model of inter-communal growth and prosperity.
                      2. Burgeoning as a direct result of proper governmental, liberal, egalitarian conduit(i.e. combating corruption, see Georgia(the country, not the US state, dear “Professor”), as an excellent case study).
                      3. (As in the case of the Japan, last link) Ethics and responsibility, as bridges between windfalls and equitable production/services.”

                      Finally, “Professor”… Can you solve a crucial puzzle for us? Are you writing your little screeds, while drunk?
                      It certainly seems however, that for all the benevolence and extolling of the Taxpayer, you’re quite a poor excuse of a troll.
                      Now, don’t you want to deserve your welfare check? 😀

                    • Figure 3 is: ‘Correlation between Trust of Country of Origin and Trust of Immigrants Relative to Great Britain’. How does that tell is that trust is correlated to being Caucasian or Protestant?

                      Table 1 is: ‘Effect of [Trust] on probability of being an entrepreneur.

                      I’ve realised that you actually have no idea what you are talking about, you are a charlatan and an village idiot. Even as a professor of law I know more about econometrics that you. What a prick.

                    • Ah… poor, poor “Professor”… Language! 😀
                      Hasn’t your mother catechized you on the evils of swearing? :O, I am quite certain they frown on “pricks” in Academia :D.
                      Now then, you obligingly ignored(and why am I not surprised ;)), Figure 1.
                      Figure 1. is captioned: “Effect of Religion on Trust”. Therein, you’ll find the above correlation with Protestantism…
                      Figure 2. SHOWS the existence of a link, which you had disavowed. Since you can’t read properly(due to ADD, or otherwise), it demonstrates the comparison betwixt a population which shares similar values(Great Britain with the US), and others. (GB, in this case, is what is known, statistically as a “benchmark”).
                      Finally, Table 1. Entrepreneurship- for people like you, with addled comprehension of English- is the rudimentary start of any business undertaking; it is the soul of a Market economy(as you can see, “Professor”, your leeching off the dole in this case, deprecates that system ;)).
                      Finally, do take care of how you bandy the word “Charlatan” around;
                      With such obvious lies as “Sanity”, “Professor of Law”, “The Ability to read & write properly”(your grammar/spelling is still somewhere, amidst snotty 3rd graders), I find it only fitting to paraphrase M. McCarthy:
                      “Everything YOU write is a lie, including ‘and’, and ‘the’.”
                      Stay mentally deficient, “Professor”; I know you’ve been told you’re “special”- I don’t want to trample your self-esteem :D.

                • No substantial arguments by sanity, just imposture as wannabee academic.
                  Strange that anti-Semitism so often goes hand in hand with imposture, lies, well, let`s say, criminal beviour.

        • Is there any evidence anywhere that proves the Weber theory (that Landes and Rmoney love) of cultural effects on economy? No, there isn’t.

          If you don’t take into account the reality and the facts on the field then obviously there is no evidence.
          Rmoney is your kind of humor? You must be a real academic and an international lawyer having this fantastic intellect matching to a thirteen years old.

        • Yes there is. When say 25% of the population can’t read you have economic stagnation. The fact that people can not read is cultural. So therefore culture effects economics.

    • How many Arab sporting champions can you list? Apart from those dudes who refuse to take on Israelis. Is that racist?

      • I would of course give the Egyptian football team a shout out, which consistently wins the African Cup of Nations, for example.

        Or how about the Iranian who won a bronze in weightlifting today?

        • I would of course give the Egyptian football team a shout out, which consistently wins the African Cup of Nations, for example.

          Why? You got something against the Ivory Coast? Hmmm ….

          And re. the Iranian who won a bronze in weightlifting. I’m glad for him. But what’s your point??

          • What has Cote d’Ivoire to do with this (please use the name that Ivorians prefer)? Cote d’Ivoire hasn’t recently won the Cup of Nations.

            THere’s no point, this is a tangent. But it has revealed the bigotry of Daniel and PtH, for example.

            • “Ivory Coast”, “bigotry”

              Poor boy, revealing your postcolonial dhimmitude you should head for Nigeria, or Mali.
              There your wishes and fears will be fulfilled.

            • “please use the name that Ivorians prefer” Oh please. Are you going to start writing about Deutschland, Austerrich, Italia, Nihon and Zhonghua (China, to save you Googling it)? Or perhaps we need to use the right fonts – no more Russia, folks, it now has to be России and of course, Sanity, I now expect you to use מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל in all your posts from now on.

        • “I would of course give the Egyptian football team a shout out, which consistently wins the African Cup of Nations, for example.
          Or how about the Iranian who won a bronze in weightlifting today?”

          So the Egyptian football team won nothing at the Olympics and an Iranian won a bronze. And why are you talking about the Olympics again? What are you on?

    • It is definitely cultural sanity. In Israel the possibility to excel in much more important areas than sport originates from its culture and free market economy. I’m sure that in Arab countries the relation between the government support of sport vs. science/industry is much higher than in Israel.

    • Sanity: “I guess the reason that Israel is so shit at the Olympics….”

      Oh dear, you spoilt it by revealing your obsessive prejudices (again).

    • Yes, the Olympic culture of ignoring the torture and murder of Israelis by Palestinian terrorists at Munich. You match this culture.

    • I see others have responded already, and I know you’re not making a serious point, Sanity, but it might just be the case that while other countries can train their young people to be sailors, runners, swimmers, gymnasts etc, Israel has to train them to be soldiers, airmen/women etc. Israel, having to spend so much of her time and energy protecting herself against those who would wish to see her destroyed, has different priorities to (and of course a far smaller population than) China and the US, for example, where the prestige of winning Olympic medals is seen as central to the nation’s ability to feel good about itself.

  5. “I guess the reason that Israel is so shit at the Olympics must be cultural too!”

    Maybe. But their creativity and economic output puts the Palestinians, the Arabs and most of Europe to shame.

    Speaking of the Olympics, how’d the Palestinians do in the kidnapping and ransom competition? I’ll bet they were big winners.

  6. Children of a lesser GOD???????????……..Poor Rachel Shabi she is floundering in the dark and can’t find the light switch…………