America not a 'kibbutz,' says Romney
August 7th, 2012
06:20 PM ET
2 years ago

America not a 'kibbutz,' says Romney

(CNN) – America's economic engine is fueled by individuals working hard, Mitt Romney said Tuesday, not by a government-run cooperative akin to a kibbutz.

"It's individuals and their entrepreneurship which have driven America," Romney said at a fund-raising event at Maggiano's Little Italy in Chicago. "What America 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."

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While Romney has often touted the importance of private sector job creators in his stump speech, the 'kibbutz' line in Tuesday's remarks is not a frequent part of his campaign rhetoric. It comes the week after Romney returned from a three-country foreign swing that included a stop in Israel, the home of the collective farms known as kibbutzim.

According to the Kibbutz Program Center, there are currently 270 kibbutzim (the plural of kibbutz) in Israel, with a population of roughly 120,000. That accounts for 2.8% of Israel's population.

While in Israel, Romney praised the economic conditions in the country, comparing the per capita GDP of Israel to the much lower per capita GDP of Palestinian-controlled areas.

Romney, speaking at a fund-raiser in the Jewish state, said higher personal wealth among citizens in Israel was an indication that the country was accomplishing something its neighbors were not.

Citing the book "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations," Romney detailed his interpretation of author David Landes' thesis.

"He says if you can learn anything from the economic history of the world, it's this: culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference. 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 said.

That remark that drew sharp criticism from Palestinians, who called it "racist."

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Israel • Mitt Romney
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. PHinMiami

    By using the word, 'Kibbutz', Romney intends to imply the US is becoming 'foreign'. It works well with the Tea Party, Civil War II enthusiasts and . . . White Supremacists.

    We should not be surprised at the zealots taking up arms.

    August 7, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. Pander Bear

    Is Romney running for Prime Minister of Israel now?

    August 7, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. mary

    NO ONE is trying to turn the country into a socialistic place where the rich take care of everyone else~!
    The rich have manipulated the opportunities America provided, and after they go theirs they proceeded to try to shut the door behind them..Instead of paying it forward.. They took their prosperity to poor countries.. Where wages are dirt cheap. There are no rules and regulations. They can muck up the air the water, the land.. They put their money in off shore accounts..
    Leaving America the land they used and the people who depended on these who "made it" to pay it forward in the form of opportunity in return.. For jobs.
    So that this country could continue to thrive.
    NO ONE is jealous of the rich.. But you don't run from the place and the people that worked and helped make it for you. To a place where you could better profit..
    Sucking it up and slamming the door of opportunity behind you.
    It would be no different than those that got an education.. Shutting the school doors and saying." Sorry I don't teach what I know, after me ..NO ONE learns anymore"..
    This is what the rich have done.. Played a dirty game, and then want to cry people are wanting what they have.
    Its despicable..
    Thiscountry was build on the backs of the hard working middle class. And the rich are repaying them by standing on their backs to reach for even more money.
    its greed. Filthy greed that motivates them.
    And making despicable accusations won't change what 99% of the people KNOW about these new selfish kind of rich.

    August 7, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. n

    Romney no one is listening to you but your base. Have you noticed, less and less of them are showing up to hear crap. Even they are wondering why don't you make your taxes available, dating at least 10 years back. Until you do, you are just a face in the crowd, saying nothing yet talking loud. Where are those taxes?

    August 7, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. w l jones

    Boy those hard working people like myself pick cotton for 2 cent a # and stake peanut for 5 cent a stack now that making plenty monies.

    August 7, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. Sandy

    So this time, he waits until he's back on American soil before he offends Israel. Oh, Romney Hood! LOL

    August 7, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. SafeJourney

    uh oh, did romney really say that?

    August 7, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Myviewis

    Obama doesn't like for people to not be a collective, it is harder to control when people have individual dreams, ideas, thoughts. Obama doesn't like people that work hard either, being that he himself never really worked in his lifetime, most of his jobs were part-time and doing much of nothing, I doubt he ever had to wake up at 6:00AM to catch a bus to work or had to stay till 7:00PM trying to put in over-time and worked full weekends to make extra money to pay his bills. Obama is pretty boy, he's your typical hang out guy we've all met in our lives, always having an excuse for not driving a 7 year old car or walking to work. Obama is just anti-business because business means work, government jobs on the other hand means I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine and we'll both waste time until it's time to go home.

    August 7, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. T'sah From Virginia

    ►"It's individuals and their entrepreneurship which have driven America,"◄

    You see – this is Romney's failure – Not everyone is an entrepreneur – There are people who bust their ass out here working hard and still cannot make ends meet. Romney makes it seems that it's all about the businesses when many entrepreneurs have stated they are not job creators. As quiet as it is kept – Romney is really speaking about "BIG CORPs/filing like a small business" entrepreneurs........... PERIOD!!! What about the middle class ROBmoneyHOOD??

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    August 7, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. ron

    Romney is really hoping that the hatred of racist people is so strong that they will be blinded to his utter incompetence and lack of qualification to be the preseident. Don't believe me? Just watch how his campaign takes a turn towards racist jargon. When you see it happening, just remember I told you so. Then, decide if you want to let him pull that on you...

    August 7, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. annette05

    No we are not a kibbutz. But if Mitt doesn't think Americans don't come together and have never come together
    for common causes and the common good- he knows no nothing about this country. It seems he has a dream of a country that runs on a completely individual mandate where the government has no power and everyone is a lone wolf.
    Or is it that he just wants the very rich to be in charge?. People can't effect change if its just one person pushing with no one behind them. I have a feeling that is what Mr. Romney wants for us all. Also–Mitt could have used any word in the world like commune or co-op in his speech. Instead, he just inserted foot in mouth-again.

    August 7, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Desmond, a Canadian

    There, he has said it himself: He sees your US citizens as self-centred individuasl, each bent on your own interest without regard for each other. In other words, you are not a community of caring persons as in that very JEWISH phenom, the Kibbutz. Yes, Cain, You are not your brother's keeper... but very stupid people may want your for President.

    August 7, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. John

    Now that he is NOT there promising to bend over and take it for the Israelis, here he is pandering to another group by distancing himself from the Israelis. We don't do things THEIR way, is what Mitt sings to this group.

    August 7, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Ooooooooooooooooo...did someone learn a new word from his visit to Israel? I'm so impressed!

    /sarcasm

    August 7, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  15. Myviewis

    Of course culture affects a country's economic development and it contributes to the quality of life people in a community seek and it does impact labor, aspiration, dreams and even technology. This is evident throughout numerous countries, especially in African countries. Of course China would be a good example and then there's North Korea, Japan, Turkey, Indonesia, India and even some Mexicans and Puerto Ricans fall into the culture influence.

    August 7, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  16. Tish NC

    And you wonder why his Negatives are going up?

    August 7, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. Oliver S.

    Dear Mr. Romney, America is also great because people work together, cooperate not just compete. Apparently you've never seen this in your silver-spoon world. Get a life.

    August 7, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  18. PJ

    Wonder what Netanyahu has to say about this latest "Romneyism". Romney and his incessant criticisms of how
    other people in other Countries live, is not my idea of diplomacy, a very important part of being President of the
    United States. The guy just can't get it right because he is void of anything other than dollar signs.

    August 7, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. Ideas, Ideals, not ideologies

    I still don't get the context of the speech. I cannot think of any large scale communal, government subsidized living arrangement in the US that would be a kibbutz. Wasn't Romney in Isreal last week? Maybe he should've criticised them while he was there. He's already shown a penchant for it. He lost me in this one.

    August 7, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  20. Miroslava

    Willard, now you are insulting Israel!

    August 7, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Mitt Romney has been running for President for over eight years .

    Why didn't mention the economy back in 04 , all he talked about was National Security .

    GW BUSH had eight years to trash the country. I'll give Obama eight to make it better again.

    Romney / No Way 2012

    August 7, 2012 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. g

    is mitt for real,is a robot -what is he what planet -mars is looking for a leader

    August 7, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. Margaret Reardon

    Was he half asleep, or high, when he made that speech? It sounds like the kind of thing you hear a drunk raving about.

    August 7, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The country of Israel has a mix of capitalism (and individual effort) and socialism (collective effort and responsiblity). I wish that Romney and the rest of the Republicans would understand that. There is no way that anyone did everything on their own, but they only seem to recognize the individual efforts.

    August 7, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  25. aaron

    America's not a kibbutz, it's an oligarchy where the rich and corporations get richer, and the poor get poorer.

    August 7, 2012 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
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