News Release

Romney Lauds Israeli Economy During Wave of Attempted Self-Immolations


Flames seen seconds after 52 years old Moshe Silman set himself on fire after a protest for social justice in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 14, 2012.

LIA TRACHANSKY, lia at, skype: lia-tarachansky,,
Israel/Palestine correspondent for The Real News Network, Trachansky said today: “In his address to major donors such as Woody Johnson and Sheldon Adelson (one of Benjamin Netanyahu’s largest supporters), U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney misrepresented Israel’s economy and enraged Palestinian leaders by claiming that the fact that Israel’s GDP is several times larger is because of ‘culture,’ ‘the hand of providence,’ and ‘a few other things.’

“However, according to the World Bank, the numbers Romney put forward were as wrong as his conclusions. In a report published earlier this month, the World Bank actually pointed to growth in the Palestinian economy but concluded that Israel’s ‘security restrictions continue to stymie investment and the recent growth has largely been driven by donor aid. This situation is unsustainable and aid levels have already begun to fall,’ blaming Israel’s occupation as the main obstacle to Palestinian economic success.

“Besides getting the numbers wrong, Romney’s focus on Israel’s ‘support of free capital’ both in his King David Hotel address and at his speech in front of the Old City of Jerusalem, Romney misrepresented the Israeli economy, which shows one of the world’s largest gaps between the rich and the poor.

“These gaps led to country-wide demonstrations this year and at least ten attempted self-immolations in recent weeks, two of them successful. One woman set her house on fire with herself inside. These have been taking place all over the country at banks, welfare offices, police stations, city halls and even a phone store. There have also been about half a dozen direct actions against the social security buildings all over the country.”

“It is in this context that Romney delivered his statements, appeasing Israel’s hard-right supporters, but proving himself disconnected from the people and the reality on the ground.” Trachansky is also the assistant director on a just-produced BBC-Arabic documentary about Moshe Silman, the first Israeli self-immolator, and the social justice movement in Israel.

See: Israel Stunned by Wave of Self-Immolations