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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gingrich's Palestinian "Invented People" Comment is True (But Is He Pandering ?)

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 three decades. 

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. 

During the 2008 campaign, Jewish leaders such as those in 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.

Despite the Roman name change, the area was called the Holy 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 said.
During the debate he defended his “invented people” statement:
"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.'"
Gingrich's statements indicate that as President, at least 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 total war."
"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."
Gingrich ends the memo with:
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 full memo was embedded below.

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 
"Israel 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.
In 1998 we see that Gingrich applied logic instead of political correctness to his Middle East positions
In the 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)  
And back in 1995 Gingrich told Israeli TV that Israel has a right to choose its own capital and he favors moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

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.

He is not the only GOP candidate supportive of Israel; Perry, Santorum, Romney and Bachmann also have a strong history of supporting Israel (Bachmann even lived in Israel for a summer as a teen).

While support of Israel should by no means be the only 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.
2003-07-29 to Larry Di Rita Re Gingrich Paper- Memo Attachment


Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment, Jeff. I think it's clear Gingrich is not pandering. Iowa isn't known for its large Jewish population, after all - and though his initial comment wasn't made there - he defended it there - his defense was strong and unequivocal.

What I WISH he would have done - and I hope to see him do so going forward - is call out the media directly for their decades of lies on this issue. He could have easily and SHOULD have called out Diane Sawyer in particular for this. She's done countless stories promoting this very lie and painting Israel as an aggressor. These people need to be called on their lies and distortions, and you will see the American people rally with great enthusiasm to the candidate that does this. Newt's on the right path, but he needs to stick it to these "journalists" and call them what they are - tools of the enemy.

Anonymous said...


who cares if he is pandering to us?

very few do. so who is complaining, if he wants to curry favor? not me.

johh jay