In an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on Starting Point, former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich once again came out in support of his former rival’s comments about Israel and Palestine.
While visiting Israel, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said that Israel’s economic advancement over Palestine can be attributed to cultural differences.
“As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, 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,” said Romney at a fundraiser in Jerusalem.
“Culture makes all the difference,” he added. “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.”
Romney’s comments met with a passionate response from Palestinians who have blamed their economic struggles on Israel.
“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,” Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the Associated Press.
In the CNN interview, Gingrich definitely took Romney’s side.
“Well, first of all I don’t think he made a mistake in Israel, I think the comments about culture were right,” said Gingrich. “I wish that the elites of this country had the courage to look at the United Nations refugee camps and realize what an anti-human disaster those refugee camps are, how much they have been breeders of terrorism, how fundamentally wrong their design is and how much we’ve done a disservice to… the Palestinians by allowing them to be subjected to that kind of government run, totally inappropriate structure. So there I hope that Governor Romney will stick to his guns. Let’s have the argument.”
Gingrich was asked the same question just a few days ago when he was campaigning for Romney in Virginia.
“I think that the whole issue of how do you encourage an economy based on trust and faith, how do you encourage the rule of law when you have Hamas and Hezbollah and Fatah and I think there is a legitimate question to say maybe these are antithetical to being prosperous,” said Gingrich on July 30 in Arlington, VA. “I find it fascinating that nobody wants to ask the question, why is Hong Kong prosperous? Why is Singapore prosperous? Why is Israel prosperous? Why can’t we apply this same prosperity to Gaza? Why can’t we apply this same prosperity to the West Bank?”