Newt Gingrich states the Palestinians are an invented people

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

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.

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6 Responses to Newt Gingrich states the Palestinians are an invented people

  1. Elliott E Alhadeff says:

    The debate is on! However, as long as the word “invented” remains undefined, legally, any side can take any position claiming all peoples of all nations were “invented” at some time in their origin. On the other hand, if “invented” means the Palestinians are merely a “garden variety” of Arabs, with no current or historically accepted element of sovereignty, (e.g., distinct culture, history, language, defined and defensable borders, ability to make and enforce treaties, established system of justice, rule of law, due process, humane civil rights, etc.,) who were arbitrarily given the lable “Palestinian” to wrongfully claim an area otherwise belonging to Israel, legimately acquired from defeating enemies from wrongful attack, it establishes the illegitimacy of the Palestinian claim and the Palestinian claimant. On this basis, it is difficult, if not impossible for the validity of Gingrich’s statement to be successfully challenged on grounds of international law.

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you for your comment Elliott and welcome to my blog.

      As far as I understand from Newt Gingrich’s statement, he indeed implied what you explained: that the Palestinians are no different to all the other Arabs surrounding Israel. Indeed, the Arabs (including “Palestinians”) themselves have said as much quite openly.

      For example, via Israel Matzav:

      Prof. Barry Rubin fact checks Gingrich’s statement and the media hysteria around it, and Israel Matzav has an excellent history lesson on the invention of the Palestinian people.

      n an interview given by Zuhair Mohsen to the Dutch newspaper Trouw in March 1977, Mr. Mohsen explains the origin of the ‘Palestinians’:

      The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.

      For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

  2. Rob says:

    Good comment, Elliott, but is this bit right?

    “… area otherwise belonging to Israel, legimately acquired from defeating enemies from wrongful attack….”

    If Israel had annexed the West Bank, as it could legally have done, this would have been right. But Israel offered to give back the West Bank – legitimately occupied in the course of a defensive war against an aggressor – in return for peace. Jordan, along with the rest of the Arab League, refused. On my reading, the West Bank does not belong to Israel because Israel did not want it and never claimed it. Thanks to the famous ‘three noes’ of Khartoum, Israel had to sit on the West Bank as military occupier until Oslo – under which it still does not ‘belong’ to her.

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