Republican Candidate Newt Gingrich made headlines this week with his comment made
on the Jewish Channel, that “We have had an invented Palestinian people
who are in fact Arabs,” His statement was criticized by fellow candidate
Mitt Romney, by the Palestinians by many in the liberal mainstream media and the
liberal Jewish press.
Gingrich’s statement was refreshing; it seemed to cast aside the phony political
correctness on the Palestinian issue the western world has been promoting for
On the other hand, let’s face it; almost everybody campaigns on being a friend
of Israel and most of the time they don’t mean it. Jimmy Carter certainly
didn’t mean it, neither did George HW Bush. George W Bush didn’t mean it
either till 9/11 changed his perspective and helped him to understand the
terrorist menace Israel was fighting.
the ADL, AJCommittee and AJCongress fought hard to make Jews ignore Obama’s
past and today try to cover up the fact that this President has become the most
anti-Israel in our history.
So Newt’s statement about an invented people may be more dramatic than most, but
it doesn’t provide the answer to the question, “does he mean it?”
Before I go further, allow me to explain why the “invented people” statement is
correct. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. was not the end of Jews
in the Holy Land. Actually Jews continued to live there continuously through
today, and for the next 65 years the country was still known as Judea. It was
only after the failure of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135C.E. did the Romans
punish the Judeans (Jews) for their constant revolts by changing the name of
their country Palaestina. The name was chosen because it was the name of the
Judean’s ancient enemy the Philistines, an Aegean (Greek) people who immigrated
to the Holy Land around 1175 B.C. E
and totally disappeared around 3-400 years later.
Land or Outremer by the Holy Roman Empire. Even the Ottoman Empire never
officially called the area Palestine but referred to it as the sanjaks of
Jerusalem, Nablus, Beirut, Homs, Damascus, Tripoli and Hama. The League of Nations brought
back the title Palestine for the area, once it divided the Ottoman Empire
under the Sykes-Picot Treaty.
Twenty-six years later, when the UN divided what was left of Palestine into two
states, they called for the formation of Jewish Palestinian and Arab
Palestinian states. That’s right, according to the original UN partition Israel
is a Palestinian state. Between the Israeli/Arab armistice in 1949 and the Six-Day
War in 1967 there was no demand for a Palestinian State in the Egyptian-
controlled Gaza and Jordanian-controlled West Bank.
The Gingrich comments were not meant to argue against a two-state solution but
creating a dialog based on the truth. Just as every Israeli Prime Minister
since Rabin (Rabin didn’t) Newt Gingrich supports the two-state solution.
Before the debate on Saturday, Gingrich told a veterans’ forum he supports
a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that includes two
separate states but;
“The burden to show a willingness to reach a peace
accord with the Israelis lies squarely with the Palestinians,”“When the president keeps talking about a peace process
while Hamas keeps firing missiles into Israel, if we had a country next to us
firing missiles, how eager would we be to sit down and negotiate?” he
“Is what I said factually true? Yes,”
“Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth. These people are
terrorists,” he said. “It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have
the guts to stand up and say, ‘Enough lying about the Middle East.'”
on the issue of Israel, he may be a welcome change from the anti-Israel Barack
Obama. And unlike Obama in 2008, Gingrich’s record indicates that he may indeed
believe what he is saying.
In a private memo he sent to then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, titled “Seven Strategic Necessities.” Gingrich wrote
that “Palestine may present us with the challenge of trying to win a total
war against an enemy hiding among civilians.” Hamas leaders talk about
driving the Jews out of Israel, he wrote, calling that a “declaration of
“However America does not have a doctrine for total war
against an enemy who is hiding behind a civilian population,” Gingrich
continued. “Furthermore that civilian population is likely to be
terrorized by the forces of total war and so simply appealing to their better
interests is useless.”
The goal is to give the President the instruments he needs
to be able to win if the forces
of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, AI Fatah, etc insist on total war.
The most impressive part of Gingrich’s comments in that memo is they were made
in private, not made as political stance.
Gingrich’s public comments seem to be consistent also; four years ago Newt said
Israel was being threatened especially by Iran
is in the greatest danger it has been in since 1967. Prior to ’67, many
wondered if Israel would survive. After ’67, Israel seemed military dominant,
despite the ’73 war. I would say we are (now) back to question of
survival,” Gingrich said.
political correctness to his Middle East positions
weeks prior to leaving for Israel, Gingrich emphasised Congress’ broad support
for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and opposition to US pressure on Israel
on the Oslo redeployment issue. At a Capitol Hill rally on May 19, Gingrich
compared the administration’s approach on the peace process to an Israeli
diplomat telling the US how to defend Texas, suggesting the problem may be that
American diplomats have “been in fancy hotels too long and [are] out of
touch with reality”. (The
Jerusalem Post, May 20, 1998)
right to choose its own capital and he favors moving the US embassy to
So it seems as Newt Gingrich may actually believe what he says about Israel and
the Middle East. Or at the very least has believed it since 1995 which is the
earliest reference I was able to find.
What about this “invented people” controversy? Gingrich is being both historically accurate
and honest about his position about Israel.
Santorum, Romney and Bachmann also have a strong history of supporting Israel
(Bachmann even lived in Israel for a summer as a teen).
reason to select one GOP candidate over another, it is an important issue to
most Republicans. Thus it is reassuring that those most likely to get the GOP
nomination will not have an anti-Israel policy like the present occupant of
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.