Gingrich: Palestinians are an 'invented people'
December 9th, 2011
06:06 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich: Palestinians are an 'invented people'

(CNN) - GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich suggested in an interview aired on Friday that those living in the Palestinian territories are an "invented people."

"I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state," Gingrich said on The Jewish Channel. "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, who are historically part of the Arab community."

He added: "And they had a chance to go many places and for a variety of political reasons, we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s. I think it's tragic."

His comments, seemingly off the path from United States foreign policy supporting a two-state solution in the Middle East, come days after Gingrich attended the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington, D.C. and as the current crop of GOP candidates compete for the GOP Jewish vote.

Describing the Middle East peace process as "delusional," Gingrich placed heavy blame on the Palestinian Authority and the role of Hamas, the ruling political party in the Gaza Strip, for the ongoing unrest.

"Both of which represent an enormous desire to destroy Israel," Gingrich said. "I think there's a lot to think about in terms of how fundamentally you want to change the terms of debate in the region."

Gingrich quickly faced criticism over his comments. On a conference call with reporters, surrogates for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Gingrich's closest competitor, questioned the former House speaker's approach.

"I'm not sure that kind of statement gets us any closer to accomplishing an agenda," said Mary Kramer, former U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and Romney surrogate. "And so that's one of the things that I think makes me a little bit nervous about Speaker Gingrich is that he sometimes makes comments that open to very broad interpretations."

Filed under: 2012 • Israel • Newt Gingrich • Palestinian Authority
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This is shaping up to be another landslide win for President Obama!

    December 9, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. diridi

    Then what is Gaza? Why Yasar Arafat was its leader. This idiot does not know a darn thing about out side USA. Now he wants to run for POTUS, Shame on these GOP idiots....

    December 9, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  3. Bryan

    Like you, Mr. Gingrich, I am an American. Guess what...Americans are an invented people.

    December 9, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Tired of the nonsense

    And the only true Americans are the ones who'd been here for about 25,000 years before anyone from Europe started sailing to these shores. "Americans" is a name for those who survived this land, not the ones who stole it from the rightful owners. "Americans" these days are a stolen identification used by an invented people.

    How do you like them apples, Newt?

    December 9, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Gee

    Gingrich is right. The palestinian people are and invented race...

    December 9, 2011 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. Dalfrom CA

    What has Gingrich been smoking? I hope it is not the camel dung mixed with some hashish.
    Professor is having a relapse. He will soon be saying that the Palestine needs to coexist with Israel. The real problem is the Arabs and Jews are really brothers fighting over the land their forefathers left to them. We as Americans or othre national need not interfere in the family feud. Let the brothers sort their problem out them selves.

    December 9, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  7. WhereIsPalin

    "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state......."

    Before the end of WWII, I don't think anyone would have able to find Israel either.

    December 9, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Nevis

    Somebody explain to us why we need to kiss the feet of all Israelites. There are hundreds of religious groups around the world so why pick one to champion. Let them stand on their own two feet. What have they done for us?

    December 9, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    He'd have us involved in a diaspora/genocide within the first 6 months of taking office.

    December 9, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Coigne

    Palestinians are an indigenous people in the place known as Palestine. They have been there for thousands of years.

    December 9, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. Jamie from Riverside

    What a tool. I think he should as a Palestinian if they consider themselves to be an invention.
    Newt is an invention of sorts himself.

    December 9, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. kenny

    Yeah Newt, you are correct but you must also include the fact that Whites are an "Invented People" also. You see, Whites are derived from Europeans and Blacks are derived from Africa and Indians, well they were already here when "White Europeans" arrived and took over their land. Oh, by the way, Papers Please Newt.

    December 9, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. Excoastie

    I think Gingrich should tell the Israelis who have had their bus blown to hell or been on the receiving end of a SCUD that the Palestinians are an invented people. As an American Jew I resent these Republican LOUD MOUTH presidential contenders telling Israelis what they should do about the Palestinians. It is Israel's problem and only Israel and can come to a solution.
    I think he is wasting his time, as I believe the majority of American Jew will vote Democratic in the next election

    December 9, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  14. ingrid

    I think Romney is correct in this case. The Palestines have a right just as the jewish people in Israel do to having their own, recognized sovereign state. Having Gingrich make comments like this is not helpful and only leads to further hostility in the region. I think there are many "invented" people by Gingrich's definition and he should be careful if he wants to start examining them all and questioning their validity. Ugh

    December 9, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. Steven Bulcroft

    There was no "Israel as a state" until the UN declared it one, before that it was Palestine and maybe it was part of the Ottoman empire before WWII but there has been no Jewish state in the area for at least a 1000 years before that. So again, in order to court more jewish voters Newt again caters to his base – the money. How else is he going to be able to pay his million dollar Tiffany's bill.

    December 9, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. Mikey

    So where would he have them go? European Americans have no anchient right to American soil. Should we all go somewhere else too? As a friend who's family from the middle east was fond of saying, "The alternative to us getting along is unthinkable." People need to sit down and come to an understanding. That is the only solution. Anything that makes that end more difficult is conterproductive. That includes Gingrich's pandering.

    December 9, 2011 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  17. Dennis

    Typical Newt uninformed statement, weren't we Americans an invented people too ?

    December 9, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. Sagebrush Shorty

    Like it or not, Gingrich is correct.

    December 9, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  19. Len Zabezhinsky

    You got it Newt.

    December 9, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  20. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Newt's qualifications for President include his former job as a Revisionist History Professor.

    December 9, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Robert Fallin

    Perhaps Newt Gingrich should read "The Invention of the Jewish People" by by Shlomo Sand. It was a best seller in Israel.

    December 9, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. Amelia

    I've lived in Jerusalem, and have met many Palestinians. I've been to a Palestinian refugee camp filled with ousted families. Their situation is sad, but it is real. They're not "invented" anymore than the Native Americans, who've been ousted out of their land, and now live on sad little reservations, are invented.

    December 9, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Frank!

    I'm just praying that Newt can hold off on saying more stupid thing until AFTER he has the Republican nomination. Ahhh, what a gift he is to Obama!

    December 9, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. John Udvarhelyi

    There was no Palestine? It was invented? Like Israel?
    If this guy becomes President, better increase the homeland security budget.

    December 9, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  25. Mycology

    Gingrich just earned my vote for coming out and speaking the TRUTH.

    Newt, you are the man.

    December 9, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
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