Days after praising Israel in Jerusalem, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a shot at kibbutzim, arguing in favor of American individualism and entrepreneurship.
"What America is not [is] a collective where we all work in a kibbutz," Romney said at a fundraiser at a downtown Chicago restaurant. "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."
It was an odd comment for Romney, especially considering that he argued that Israel's culture made the difference in its economic success. Kibbutzim, or collective farms, were essential building blocks in making Jewish settlements in Palestine and ultimately made the creation and growth of the state of Israel even possible.
Romney visited a kibbutz threatened by rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson in January 2011 as part of a Middle East trip, NJ.com reported.
Former presidential candidate and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) -- who once caught heat for mispronouncing chutzpah CHOOT-spa -- has looked on her time at a kibbutz in the mid-1970s fondly. "We worked on the kibbutz from 4 a.m. to noon. We were always accompanied by soldiers with machine guns. While we were working, the soldiers were walking around looking for land mines. I really learned a lot in Israel."
UPDATE: This story has been updated to include information about Romney's 2011 trip to a kibbutz.
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