The GOP’s frontrunner spews ‘ahistorical claptrap’

I sometimes find it difficult to address political speech that is as disgusting as it is stupid. It can be hard to know where to start. And that’s exactly how I felt when I refrained from blogging about the Newt Gingrich comment that Palestinians are an “invented people.” He said:

Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places.

Thankfully, Daniel Larison ably tackles Newt’s repulsive and utterly ignorant remark:

It’s a good thing we have Gingrich to inform us that Palestinians are “in fact” Arabs, or we might somehow forget. Prior to the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, there were no independent Arab states anywhere. Did that mean that there were no distinctive nationalities or local identities among the Ottomans’ Arab subjects? Obviously not.

And he cites a fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, Hussein Ibish:

For a man who likes to call himself a historian, Gingrich’s grasp of these realities is astoundingly weak. To call the Palestinians ‘an invented people’ in an obvious effort to undermine their national identity is outrageous, especially since there was no such thing as an ‘Israeli’ before 1948. Arab and Jewish identities are very old, but Israeli and Palestinian nationalisms are both 20th-century phenomena, and arose at the same time in competition with each other. The idea that either is more ‘invented’ and hence less ‘authentic’ than the other is ignorant, ahistorical claptrap.

15 thoughts on “The GOP’s frontrunner spews ‘ahistorical claptrap’”

  1. I try to avoid listening to or reading Gingrich's ramblings, as the man tends to just make up stuff, continually inserting his foot in his mouth in the process. Combine that with his flip-flopping and personal moral failings, and you have the makings of a truly disastrous Gingrich presidency.

    That this BS artist and egomaniac is considered the Republican front runner is a sad commentary on the state of American politics.

  2. if remove from Israel every European Jew with significantly less % of Semitic blood than the prototype Palestinian and also every Jew who is not an observant Orthodox Jew practising the religion extant at the time of exodus, you won't have many left to fill even Gingrich's definition of a "people" deserving of a land.

    1. Tell it to the victims of the Nazi Holocaust that they were just Europeans, or to the victims of Polish or Russians "Pogroms" that they were just Poles or Russians. The Jew haters of all nationalities were very good in spotting Jews and and Nazi specifically distinguish them from the Arabs whom they considered allies. The Palestinians Arabs consider themselves as Arabs and it is stated in their numerous documents. They saw local remaining Jews as a conquered people and treated them as such. Of course the Israel-Palestinian Arabs conflict is a complex one and Palestinian Arabs have their rights (individual and as a group), but Gingrich statement is basically true, though may be not the most helpful for the peaceful solution. But this solution with current attitude of the Palestinian Arabs when they consider statement calling them Arabs as racist – is a very long shot. The Palestinian should either continue to call for Arab unity and help on the basis that they are Arabs or say that they are not Arabs but distinct people, start to speak their own ancient language as Israeli did, find their own cultural identity and then, I am sure Israeli will not view them just as agents of the Pan-Arabic conquest but as the People they can live in peace side by side like Dutch and Belgians do. The middle East conflict is not the unique one – there were numerous partitions in the modern history, many of them involved displacement of a huge number of people – consider the displacement of Germans from Czechoslovakia and Poland or Indian Muslims, some of these displacements were not even swaps – people of one ethnicity or faith were just expelled without proper number of people and land swapped. In case of the Israeli-Arab partition the number of Jews from the Arab countries and the land which they occupied there (I am not even mentioning European countries where Jews were just slaughtered) was even greater than the number of Arabs expelled or moved out of Israel. So double standards and hypocrisy here is just outstanding.

  3. The Americans also are an "invented people". Before the débarquement of hordes of Europeans of various ethnicity, North America was inhabited by what is now called "native americans".

    Why doesn't the Newt transport himself into a refugee camp in Mexico?

    But we all know what this is, whether Newt actually thinks about what he is saying or not – and I suspect not – it's hardcore whoring to the money-spewing ends of the nationalist and fascist Israeli tendrils. "GIMME MONEY. I WON'T LET YOU DOWN. HEIL! HEIL! HEIL!"

  4. The most critical element in any war is not the sophistication of its weaponry. It is the availability of human sacrifice. Mothers must be willing to give birth to, nurture and raise the kinds of strong, healthy, young sons and daughters, who will not question the nation's rituals of sacrificial bloodletting. Fate's lottery will choose some among this group to give up their lives. Many more will be called upon to make lesser sacrifices, like spilling a few pints of blood on this altar, or giving up a few limbs or maybe just handing over their mental balance.

    Don't get me wrong. I am not a pacifist. Sometimes countries and people do need to go to war in order to defend themselves and uphold their principles. But my point is this. I would lock my son in a closet before I'd let him give up his life in a meaningless war, initiated by politicians just trying to win elections. Admittedly, since my son is only nine years old, I might harbor overblown notions about what a mother can and can't do with an adult child. But even so, I'd go to jail trying.

    These thoughts came flooding into my mind this morning when I read about Newt Gingrich antagonizing the Arab world by declaring that the Palestinians are "an invented people." Perhaps he forgot that Americans are the quintessential "invented people." In any case, he along with Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry have pledged to carry out military strikes against suspected Iranian nuclear facilities, dismantle Palestinian aspirations for statehood, invade Pakistan, step up the war in Afghanistan. Rick Santorum, not to be outclassed, says that the U.S. has a moral duty to battle China’s brand of ‘godless socialism.’

    If this is not the future we want for our sons and daughters, we as mothers must seize our power before its too late.

  5. I don't really understand the Republican candidates. Do they really think that what the American people want more than anything else is more wars? Are people writing to their congressmen and senators asking for more wars? Are groups of citizens descending on Washington, holding mass demonstrations and demanding more wars? Asking to have their taxes raised to pay for them? Are young men and women flooding the recruitment centers trying to enlist in the military? What is going on here??

  6. Sigh, OK I am going to wade in here and be un p.c., the Jews are an even more "invented" people as a mish mash of Semites, Kazars, and Africans who had no nation state at all until they stole other peoples land in 1948. Note this does NOT mean I think Jews are inferior in any way, many of our best thinkers like Noam Chomsky are Jewish, merely to point out that it's silly for Newt to whine about an invented people when the people he is defending are even more "invented."

  7. He and his wife have been working for Israel and AIPAC front groups for years. Legally and morally he should be a registered foreign agent. His main money man for a long time has been Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casinoster and financial backer of ultraZionist settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Do we really need to know much more about this collaborator and traitor?

  8. USA TODAY POLL:11/16/2007*:

    "Three of four Americans say they are concerned that the United States "will not do enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons." On this issue, there is bipartisan accord: 35% of Republicans and 36% of Democrats say they are "very concerned" about that prospect.

    •However, three of four Americans also express concern that the United States "will be too quick to use military force" against Iran. "

    WASHINGTON TIMES 11/13/2011
    Poll: Is war with Iran necessary to prevent the nation from acquiring nuclear weapons?

    * Yes……………………. 49%
    * No………………………40%
    * Undecided…………7%
    * Other………………… 1%

  9. "Newt Gingrich" is an excellent answer to the question, "Can you give me an example of a 'court historian?'"

  10. Nobody mentioned Herodotus 'Histories', which refers to Palestine… as did Aristotle's "Meteorology" ("Histories" dates from 440BC-ish; Meteorology about a hundred years after that).

    Let's get this clear: Gingrich was just fellating a Zionist lobby group. And those folks aren't too interested in historical fact if it gets in the way of their project. (Ask Yacob Wilkomerski, or the guy who wrote the "apples through the fence" hogwash, or the woman who claims she was raised by wolves).

  11. What else should we call people who lived in a land called Palestine for over five millenia…New Yorkers?

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