Romney: America is not a kibbutz
August 8, 2012 6 Comments
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Director
Washington, Aug. 8 – Just days after praising Israel during a speech in Jerusalem, Mitt Romney attacked an integral part of Israeli society – the kibbutz. During an attack on President Obama’s argument that businesses in the U.S. rely on help from society and the government, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said the American economy is fueled by individuals working hard.
“It’s individuals and their entrepreneurship which have driven America,” Romney said at a fundraising event at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Chicago Tuesday. “What America is, is not a collective where we all work in a kibbutz or we all in some little entity; instead it’s individuals pursuing their dreams and building successful enterprises which employ others and they become inspired as they see what has happened in the place they work and go off and start their own enterprises.”
Just last week, during his trip to Israel, Romney argued that Israel’s culture is the cause for the country’s economic success. Speaking at a fundraiser in Jerusalem, the former governor said higher personal wealth among citizens in Israel than in the Palestinian-controlled areas was an indication that the country was accomplishing something its neighbors were not.
Yet the kibbutz has been a staple of Israeli society since the state’s creation. A kibbutz, which is a unique rural community dedicated to mutual aid and social justice, runs on a socioeconomic system based on the principle of joint ownership of property, equality and cooperation of production, consumption and education. When Israel was created, kibbutznicks were among the first people that helped build the country.
According to the Kibbutz Program Center, there are currently 270 kibbutzim in Israel, with a population of roughly 120,000. That accounts for 2.8 percent of Israel’s population.
In January 2011, Romney visited a kibbutz suffering from continuous rocket attacks coming from the Gaza Strip. This visit was during a trip with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.