The statement, a suggestion that Israel had thrived while Palestinians struggled because of the innate superiority of the Israelis, was also something more. It was racist. There are two possibilities here. One is that Romney was given by bad advice about what to say by his staff. The other is that he either ignored the advice he got or misunderstood it and was personally responsible for saying the stupid thing he said. (The likelihood of this latter possibility goes up, by the way, when it is noted that the language he used is similar to elements of his memoir in which he muses about the reason nations decline. In other words, he may actually believe the awful, damaging statement he made.)

Not only was the statement manifestly untrue, it showed a really deep misunderstanding of the plight of the Palestinians and worse, a failure to grasp that the key to peace in that part of the world will be helping the Palestinians tap their extraordinary human resources and flourish economically on their own. The statement immediately produced a backlash from Palestinians, with whom the United States and Israel must work to achieve a lasting settlement. And that it was all done at a fundraiser to pander to big donors — including Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate who once called the Palestinians an “invented people” and likened AIPAC’s support for peace talks to “committing suicide” — somehow managed to cheapen what was pretty dumb to begin with.

If Romney were following the advice of his staff when he made either his London gaffe or his Israel blunder, he should fire them. If they didn’t advise him to say these things, but failed to give him useful advice about what not to say, he should fire them.