Newt Gingrich Calls Palestinians 'Invented' People
Republican frontrunner insults Palestinians, President Obama, in interview with Jewish network.
First Newt Gingrich knocked poor kids—saying they don’t work for cash “unless it’s illegal.” Now he’s bashed Palestinians by remarking that they’re not real people because they never had their own state, CBS News reports.
“I think we have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and who are historically part of the Arab community,” Gingrich said during an interview that aired on the Jewish Channel Friday. “They had a chance to go to many places, and for a variety of political reasons, we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s. It’s tragic.”
Gingrich also couldn’t resist making a jab at Barack Obama during the interview, saying that the President is “favoring the terrorists” by treating Palestinians and Israelis as equals.
To say that Palestinian leaders found Gingrich’s comments offensive would be putting it lightly. Running commentary from Palestinian dignitaries suggests that they didn’t just find his remarks misguided, but Gingrich to be far from the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad recommended that Gingrich “review history,” as his comments denied “historical truths.”
Fayyad said in a statement, “From the beginning, our people have been determined to stay on their land.”
Palestinian official Nabil Abu Rdeneh joined in, characterizing Gingrich’s comments as “unfortunate” and him as “ignorant.” Another Palestinian lawmaker, Hanan Ashrawi, described Gingrich as having “lost touch with reality” and his comments as “a cheap way to win (the) pro-Israel vote.”
One needn’t be a Middle Eastern scholar to question the logic of Gingrich’s remarks. After all, if Palestinians are an “invented” people because they never had a state, wouldn’t Native Americans—who hadn’t established a state when Europeans arrived in the New World—also be an invented people? How about the Aborigines of Australia and any number of other groups?
As for Palestine—the Ottoman Empire ruled the land for centuries. When the empire fell following World War I, the British Empire took control, dubbing all inhabitants of the area “Palestinians” regardless of religion, CBS News reports. Although Palestinian culture and customs generally overlap with Arab culture, Palestinians distinguish themselves from other Arabs to demonstrate their connection to the land they’ve fought Zionist Jews over for decades.