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.