Culture is an elusive and elastic concept. It can lead outside observers, who may not know much about the region, to make missteps when they venture there. Mitt Romney, apart from having recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in contradiction with U.S. official policy that does not -- pending negotiations between the parties -- has held that culture is the reason that the Israelis are so much more developed economically than their neighbors across the Jordan River, the Palestinians. (Not surprisingly, Palestinian public opinion in the occupied West Bank and elsewhere was offended.) The occasion was a breakfast fundraiser at the King David Hotel on 30 July. Said Romney in part, "And as I come here and look out over the city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things." He went on to cite:
- a favorable business climate
- the ability of the Jewish people to thrive under difficult conditions
- "the hand of Providence"