Geraldo: Romney 'Racist' to Claim Culture Plays Role in Israel's Success

Here is an example of why people laugh when Geraldo Rivera describes himself as conservative. His default response is invariably liberal.

On his WABC radio show out of New York City on Tuesday, Rivera played the race card in condemning Mitt Romney for having the incorrect audacity to suggest cultural differences at least partially explain Israel's economic success compared to Palestinian stagnation. (audio).

RIVERA: Here's what he said -- 'If you could learn anything from the economic history of the world, it's this -- culture makes the difference. As I come here and I look 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.' A few other things -- like what?  Arabs and Muslims are genetically in-, inferior to Israelis and Jews? I mean, it is really, what kind of statement is this? I mean, and to say Israel is prospering and the Palestinians are not because of culture. What about the occupation? I mean, it is so bald-faced political pandering for the Jewish vote and it makes me sick! I mean, come on folks, be fair!

You can even think that Israel deservedly should have possession of Judea and Samaria, whatever you want to call the West Bank, you can make any kind of argument you want to. But if you don't think that the prosperity in Israel is totally different than the oppression in the West Bank, where incidentally there is a lot of construction going on. But I mean to say that Israelis earn, you know, have an average per-capita income of $21,000 and the Palestinians only $10,000 and to try to draw some cultural superiority over that? Isn't that dangerous? Isn't that what focused the world's, you know, rage over the centuries at us, at the Jews? I think it really is a rookie remark and, you know, for a guy, he should know better, particularly coming from a minority religion as he does.

Notice how Rivera pounces on "the occupation" as responsible for economic disparities between Israelis and Palestinians -- followed by him stating that one could say Israel "deservedly" lays claim to Judea and Samaria, "whatever you want to call the West Bank." But if one can make this claim -- and Rivera says you can -- it eliminates "the occupation" as the cause of Palestinian malaise.

Perversely, Rivera describes Romney's remarks as "dangerous" and alludes to centuries of anti-Semitism in response to perceptions of Jewish "cultural superiority." But it wasn't a Jew saying this -- it was a Mormon wondering aloud if culture "at least" plays a role in a society's success or failure.

By saying what he did, Romney violated the most sacred belief of liberals, that of moral relativism, the obscene worldview that sees no distinctions between societies except skin hues and tax rates. One of the clearest demarcations between conservatives and liberals is evident in how they respond to the question, does culture matter? Conservatives answer -- of course it does. Liberals hiss -- stop the hate speech.

Rivera, who is half-Jewish, half-Puerto Rican, describes such talk as "dangerous," thus unintentionally bolstering Romney's premise. Only those from an inferior culture -- one that venerates suicide bombers over scholars, for example -- would react to these remarks with "rage." Inhabitants of a culture secure in its values and promise would shrug them off as harmless bluster, possibly true or potentially illuminating.

Minutes later, while challenged by a caller who cited rampant corruption in the Palestinian Authority, Rivera lapsed into amnesia over what he just said (audio) --

CALLER: There's a lot of black stuff going on there. There's no, there's no responsibility for anything there and things that you can't blame on Israelis. And, and ...

GERALDO: I'm not blaming Israelis! I'm saying that this remark is ridiculously naive and intentionally parochial and chauvinistic and it is at its heart racist. I think there is a racist component to that.

Except for "the occupation," except for that. Apparently the Israelis have outsourced this to Palestinians.

Shortly after, Rivera doubled down on wanting it both ways. Having said "the occupation" was to blame, then denying he was blaming Israelis, thereby suggesting "the occupation" is enforced with fairy dust or by the Palestinians themselves, Rivera said this in response to another caller who challenged him (audio) --

Let me ask you a question. If you were occupied for 40 years, wouldn't you be crazy? I'd be crazy. I would have been killed years ago.

Not that the Israelis could be blamed for this, no sirree.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts