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. george of the jungle

    He should know invention. He reinvents himself for each opportunity that comes his way. Gosh what a president he would make so much for diplomicy. He would have the whole world mad at us.

    December 9, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  2. JF

    There is a saying about awaking a sleeping God. But the bad thing is when you go over to wake him, you
    find out that he is not sleep. But very very mad at the world.

    December 9, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. M.G.

    "Gingrich ... sometimes makes comments that open to very broad interpretations." Broad interpretations? This guy is wacko!

    December 9, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. dan

    With that logic, Newt, Americans are an invented people as well. We were from many other countries, and, in broad terms, took this land away from those who inhabited it originally. Do you want to talk about that one? Or, should we continue to believe that "city on a hill" idea from the Puritans, one of the most insular, non-accepting groups imagineable, accounts for America? As an historian, you need to tell the truth, not the Newt truth, but the real truth. And, of course, that truth is that history belongs to the victor, not to the vanquished.

    December 9, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  5. Baz

    0 Israeli homes have been demolished by Palestinians and 24,813 Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel since 1967.

    December 9, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. DorisV

    Newt needs to read some history of the area. The Palestinians (Arabs) and Jewish people lived side by side in that area. After WWII this area was being handled by the British. Jews from Europe were brought to the area after the Holocaust. The state/nation of Israel was founded in I948, I believe. Palestinian lands were seized by the new nation. The Palestinians deserve a free state. The fighting needs to cease. It takes two to have an argument/fight. Both sides have done bad things. There are people of peace on both sides. Hopefully they can convince the fighters to quit this ugliness.

    December 9, 2011 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |

    Well I guess that sets the tone of US foreign policy should Newt get the job. Tragic indeed....

    December 9, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. Bernard

    I guess he forgot basic history that Israel was also "invented" by the United Kingdom when they decolonized the area an created the borders of Israel.

    I guess he also forgot that "Arab" isn't a nationality but a general ethnicity. It would be like saying the Polish are an "invented" people because they are just white people like most Europeans.

    Israel was a term only known in the bible of a bygone civilization, while that region of the world has been called "Palestine" for centuries up until 1947.

    December 9, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. Tommy Nassar

    Mr. Gingrich can say whatever he wants. This statement shows how much he is in Israel's pocket. But let's play along with his statement and let's suppose there were no Palestinians.
    So who are the refugees displaced in other Arab countries? If you want to call them only Arabs, then what about their properties that were taken by Israelis? Why don't you agree to compensate them?
    I want Mr. Gingrich to remember that although the Jewish people may have a claim on the land because they were there for some periods 2000 years ago, the "locals" too who have been there ever since also have a claim on that land.
    And these locals (who like to be called Palestinians) are like the camels that symbolize that part of the world: persistent, durable and never forget their rights. This is why it is in Israel's best interest to meet them in the middle.

    December 9, 2011 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    I guess this would be some contrast certainly from "The Great Appeaser".

    December 9, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. AlaskaPalin

    Agreed. If there was a palestinian state for hundreds of years; who was its leader before arafat? Those who advocate for a two state solution are playing ostrich; it will never work. Israel must not give a grain of its sand to the arabs (palestinian). Zionism does not seek the conquest of other countries as a colonial power; all it seeks to do is (1) defend what have been known for thousands of years as israels historical borders and (1) see that there will never be a repeat of the holocaust on the jewish people. Jerusalem have been known for thousand of years as israels capital; its time that america recognize this by moving its embassy there.

    December 9, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  12. RINO Bil

    What a statement! It was worthy of ... Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin.

    December 9, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Larry L

    Israel continues to build settlements and will never stop until they control the region. For a historian to say that Palistinians are "invented" is completely dishonest.

    Texas was a part of Spain, Mexico, France, the Confederacy, The Republic of Texas, and the United States (at least untli Rick Perry has his way). Are Texans an "invented" people? Newt is of course dishonest... but what about those who support him while claiming to value honesty? Who are they lying to?

    December 9, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. Roe

    Remember there was no Israeli state till the UN created it either! Both Jews and Arabs–Jewish, Muslim and Christian–have been living in this same area since time immemorial. All currents "states" are unreal in that they were lines drawn by others not the very people who have co-existed there since the beginning. Gingrich as a historian should know better. He does, but he talks the talk others want to hear, not the historical facts. Shame on him.

    December 9, 2011 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. jawad iginla

    Newt would say anything for toffee(chocolate) would he not

    December 9, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. Namejkane

    Your nothing but a crook and an unregeister lobbyist that should be in jail, go home and see your blowup doll third wife you clown.

    December 9, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. Jake

    israel wasn't a state either until the british and americans took the land from the palestinians and set up the jewish state in the 50's. for more than a thousand years the land was called many it still is.

    December 9, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. Portland tony

    Newt..Newt..Newt...You are once again confusing actual historical fact with your "what if" historical fiction. Actually there were few if any Jews around Jerusalem before the "allies" decided to establish Israel. There were itinerant Arabs, some indigenous to the area peacefully milking goats or harvesting olives etc. Strange, the fate history has handed the people of that region. If that's where the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths were born, someone sure screwed things up?

    December 9, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. A disgusted former Republican

    Just more babbling from a radical republican politician.

    December 9, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. donna

    Gingrich will say anything for a 'zinger'. But no one knows what he truly represents.

    December 9, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  21. GOP = Greed Over People

    What I find most disturbing, is this moron is supposed to be THE intelligent republican.

    December 9, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Deep in the Heart of Texas

    Nice fashion statement Newt, is your tie tucked into your pants so that last drop of pee will not fall?

    December 9, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. Alan

    Americans are an invented people, too. What people isn't? I think maybe Gingrich doesn't think things through before he says them.

    December 9, 2011 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  24. bawana

    hey newt ! ,,,ever read the bible newt ? seems to me they mentiom them in the bible,,,i maybe mistaken but i think i'm right on this,,,this shows how stupid you are ,,,i'm glad too,,,people need to see it before it's too late

    December 9, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  25. Thomas

    Coming from the Father of Invention . Didn't he say that climate change is invented as well ?

    Delusional Gingrich "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire.

    Dose Newts analogy or theory only apply to Arabs ? Or Dose the same Newt logic apply to Native Americans being placed on reservations ? Newt is the epitome of a new age shaman historian . Who's neo imperial colonial arrogance daisy picks a chain of self serving rhetoric !

    December 9, 2011 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
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