Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich caused a stir last week when he declared, on the Jewish Channel cable TV station, that the Palestinians are an invented people. You can watch the various segments of his interview on that link. He was absolutely correct in his statement, though of course extremely politically incorrect.
Gingrich went on to disagree with most of the standpoints of the Obama Administration with regard to the Middle East, as the Guardian helpfully reports to us:
Gingrich differed from official US policy that respects the Palestinians as a people deserving of their own state based on negotiations with Israel. “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire” until the early 20th century, Gingrich said.
“I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it’s tragic,” he said.
He categorised the Obama Administration’s attitude towards the Middle East thus:
Gingrich sharply criticised the Obama administration’s approach to Middle East diplomacy, saying it was “so out of touch with reality that it would be like taking your child to the zoo and explaining that a lion was a bunny rabbit”.
Unsurprisingly, and as sure as the sun rises in the east, the Arab League immediately rose to condemn Gingrich’s words.
A senior Arab League official condemned on Sunday a statement by Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich claiming Palestinians are an “invented” people, calling it racist and a cheap stunt to get votes.
However Israeli Cabinet minister Uzi Landau said Gingrich was “right.” He claimed the Palestinians do not have their own language or culture, and are instead part of the broader Arab world.
Gingrich also called Palestinians “terrorists.” The comments struck at the heart of Palestinian sensitivities about the righteousness of their struggle for an independent state. Applying the label “invented” suggests that the Palestinian quest for independence is not legitimate. He later sought to clarify his position, with his spokesman saying he supports the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a negotiated settlement with Israel.
Prof. William Jacobson, who blogs at Legal Insurrection, writes that Gingrich was correct in his statement, not only historically but politically.
The importance of Gingrich’s comment was that it skewered a false historical narrative which dominates the international debate and is used for the demonization of Israel and its chief supporter, the United States.
Newt was absolutely correct to say enough already with the falsehood. If it upset the Palestinians, well too bad. It’s about time a prominent political figure in the United States didn’t just voice support for Israel but did so in a historically accurate manner which addressed the false Palestinian narrative of perpetual victimization.
The Palestinian issue also gave Newt what may turn out to be his most important moment in any debate, aligning himself with Ronald Reagan in refusing to be timid in the politically correct propaganda war being waged against us.
It has been such a refreshing change to hear a politician, even an American presidential candidate, stating the bald truth about the Palestinians. Let’s hope that Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination and then goes on to beat Obama. We need someone like him in the White House.