Culture does make the difference -- and the numbers prove it.
If Romney accomplished nothing else during his Israeli visit, he did manage to offend every single Palestinian Arab terrorist group, all of whom, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and the DFLP, issued press releases denouncing him. American media outlets have been denouncing him for saying that the GDP Per Capita differences between Israel and the Palestinian Authority represent a contrast in values.
The official media narrative is that these differences are the results of oppression, checkpoints and blockades. But then why does the IMF put Israel's GDP Per Capita well ahead of the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia has no Israeli checkpoints, no Israeli soldiers or planes flying overhead. It has wealth literally pouring out of the ground with a fifth of the world's petroleum reserves. And yet the IMF puts it 13 places behind Israel and the World Bank puts it 8 places behind Israel. The only Muslim countries with a better GDP Per Capita than Israel are small monarchies drowning in oil.
The non-oil Muslim countries who are closest to Israel are Malaysia and Lebanon, 32 and 33 places behind Israel. Both countries also have sizable non-Muslim populations. Muslims make up only 50 percent of Lebanon and only 60 percent of Malaysia. No Muslim country without oil has a better GDP Per Capita than a Muslim country with sizable Christian or Buddhist minorities.
What Romney didn't mention, but should have, is that the Palestinian Authority dealt yet another blow to its economy when it drove out the Christian population. Christians in the territories have traditionally made the best businessmen and the capital of the Palestinian Authority was actually started by Jordanian Christian refugees escaping Muslim persecution.
Israel has 1.2 Muslims inside the Green Line who account for 52 percent of its social benefits. Israel's national unemployment rate is 5.6 percent. The Arab unemployment rate is 27 percent. Only 59 percent of Muslim men and only 19 percent of Muslim women are officially part of the workforce. That's compared to 56 percent of Jewish women and 52 percent of Christian women.
The average Israeli family has double the monthly income of the average Arab family. Half the Arab sector officially lives in poverty. The Israeli Jewish GDP is nearly three times higher than the Arab-Israeli GDP.
This could be blamed on the usual scapegoat of racism, but the Israeli Arab GDP of $6,750 is actually better than the $5,900 GDP in neighboring Jordan, the $6,540 GDP in Egypt and the $5,041 GDP in Syria. This is the same range in which most non-oil Arab Muslim states are grouped and it is clear that there is no escaping it without a big petroleum reserve. Or like Lebanon with its $15,523 GDP, a whole lot of Christians to actually work for a living.
Again culture is the determinant. Israel within the Green Line only has about 150,000 Christians and about as many Druze, and both groups perform better economically. Christian Arabs have a higher employment rate and a better rate of higher education than Muslims.
Apart from that official 1.2 million, Israel is also responsible for the 4 million in the Palestinian Authority (some of whom overlap with that 1.2 million and some of whom are imaginary and exist only to collect benefits from international agencies) who are still Israel's responsibility, according to them and to the world, even though they also continue insisting that they want their own state.
The reason why the GDP in Palestinian areas is so terrible is because its inhabitants live in a giant welfare state. Palestinian Arabs were already receiving 725 dollars in per capita assistance. They don't need an economy because the United States and the European Union are their economy. They don't need a state because the UNRWA is their state.
It's easy to admire Israel for what it has accomplished, but it stands out so much because of the region it's in. Singapore and Hong Kong are less remarkable because they are in a region where countries don't just give up and wait around for foreigners to come and find oil on their land. In Asia, countries make things happen for themselves. In the Middle East, if you're not Jewish or Christian and you don't have oil, then you have economic problems.
But let's leave the Middle East and head over to Asia. India and Pakistan are divided by a GDP Per Capita difference of almost a thousand dollars. India is naturally in the lead. Within India, Muslims are at the bottom of the economic ladder. Their per capita GDP is lower, their literacy rate is lower and they perform worse than Hindus. And yet the average Indian Muslim annual income at 513 dollars is still higher than the average annual income in Pakistan at 420 dollars. This remains consistent with the higher Arab-Israeli income and lower Jordanian Arab income model meaning that Muslims in non-Muslim countries will earn less than the majority, but more than they would in a majority Muslim country.
In Africa, Muslim Somalia sits next door to Ethiopia and Kenya and its GDP is so small it can't even be registered compared to $1,093 and $1,746 for them. You might try to blame Somalia's civil war, but Rwanda, which experienced a genocide, has a $1,341 GDP. Niger with an 80 percent Muslim population and a $771 GDP sits next door to Chad with only a 53 percent Muslim population and a $1,865 GDP. Next door Cameroon has a 70 percent Christian majority and a $2,257 GDP.
In Britain the myth of the hardworking Bangladeshi or Pakistani storekeeper is practically sacred. In reality 70 percent of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis live in low income households, compared to 50 percent of Africans, 30 percent of Indians and 20 percent of the natives. Bangladeshis and Pakistanis not only have dramatically higher unemployment rates than natives, but they have higher unemployment rates than Africans.
If the issue were racism, then their unemployment rates would be in line with far lower Indian unemployment rates. Instead Muslims have the worst economic record in the UK. Pakistani Muslims in the UK are three times more likely to be unemployed than Hindus. Indian Muslims are twice as likely to be unemployed as Indian Hindus.
Again this fits the same model of Muslims from non-Muslim countries being less economically inept than Muslims from majority Muslim countries. The crucial difference between minority Muslims and majority Muslims is culture. Minority Muslims do have their own culture, but no minority group can entirely escape the values of the majority culture. Arab Israelis and Indian Muslims absorb enough of the values of the majority culture to perform better than their neighbors in Jordan or Pakistan. And they even carry on these absorbed values when they move to another country.
We can see the direct consequences of those values in action. In the UK, Muslims have the highest dropout rate and lack of qualifications of any religion. They have the highest male and female unemployment rates. This isn't racism, this is Islamism.
Muslims have the highest unemployment rate in Ireland. In Belgium, Moroccans and Turks have a five times higher unemployment rate of the native population. In Australia, Muslims have twice the unemployment rate of non-Muslims and forty percent of their children live below the poverty line. Muslims also have the highest unemployment rate in Canada, 14.4 percent to a national rate of 7.2 percent.
The response to all these numbers is the usual cry of racism, but racism fails to explain why Muslims fail more comprehensively at home than they do abroad. If Muslims fail in the West Bank, then Israeli checkpoints are to blame. If they fail in Canada, Australia and Europe, then racism is to blame. But if they fail in Pakistan, Somalia and Saudi Arabia-- who is to blame?
Responsibility is the missing element. It's the character value without which there can be no economic success. The same lack of responsibility that manifests itself after a Muslim terrorist attack, when Muslims rush to position themselves as the victims, rather than dealing with the violence in their midst, also manifests itself in the economic arena and in every aspect of life. This lack of responsibility is a failure of values that cannot be escaped or ascribed to racism, the occupation or the boogeyman.
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