Israel's President Shimon Peres and U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney
Israel's President Shimon Peres (L) and U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney smile at each other upon Romney's arrival for their meeting in Jerusalem. Photo by Reuters
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You wouldn’t think that the first major trip abroad by a presidential candidate would be a great opportunity for comedy, but pundits and comedians seemed to be having a lot of fun taking jabs at Mitt Romney as he made his way - and his missteps - across Europe and the Middle East.

When it came to the Israel visit, first there was Tom Friedman’s snide column about Romney’s Jerusalem fundraiser in the New York Times, “Why Not in Vegas?” in which he wrote:

“Why didn’t they just do the whole thing in Las Vegas? I mean, it was all about money anyway — how much Romney would abase himself by saying whatever the Israeli right wanted to hear and how big a jackpot of donations Adelson would shower on the Romney campaign in return. Really, Vegas would have been so much more appropriate than Jerusalem. They could have constructed a plastic Wailing Wall and saved so much on gas.”

When Romney himself didn’t provide sufficient fodder, the press found it in his staff, in particular his travelling press secretary Rick Gorka, who brushed off reporters at Poland’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, by telling them “Kiss my ass. This is a holy site.”

But nothing could top the level of ridicule showered on Romney’s remarks in Israel presented by the king of ridicule, Jon Stewart, host of the cable network Comedy Central’s satiric “Daily Show.”

In a review of Romney’s trip abroad entitled “National Geo-Gaffe-ic” Stewart ripped into the GOP hopeful’s statement contrasting Israel’s economic strength to that of its Palestinian neighbors, and attributing it to ‘culture.’

Stewart’s interpretation:

“Romney appears to be saying that the Palestinians are purely the architects of their own poverty, or, if you prefer to look at the converse, that Jews are culturally some money-making motherfuckers.”

As to Romney’s additional remark attributing Israel’s success to the ‘hand of Providence’ Stewart said:

“Romney appears to be saying while Palestinian despair has its roots in their culture, God is also holding them down... Or, if you prefer to look at the converse, Israel’s economic progress is evidence of the hand of providence — going to assume that all the horrible shit that happened to the Jews prior to that was the hand of providence’s middle finger.”

The report continued with a ‘correspondent’ on the ground in the West Bank confirming that the Palestinians were clearly behind the curve culturally. Otherwise, he said, why would they be putting up walls all over the place and stopping people who were trying to drive from place to place?

To strengthen his point ‘reporter’ pointed behind him “Look at the way these Palestinians live! The house behind me looks like it was hit by a bulldozer!” Looking at the rubble around him, he noted that “A superior culture, like Israel or the United States, would take this rubble, and make rubble-ade!”