Newt Gingrich 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In his bid to pander to Jewish American voters and demonstrate that he is closer
to Israel than most Israelis, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich
declared that Palestinians are an “invented people.” Gingrich, while being
interviewed on a right-wing American Jewish cable TV program, said that they
were just “Arabs” and had never existed as a people prior to 1948.
a demonstration of how Gingrich is merely pandering for Jewish votes, and that
he is not completely stupid, he had a spokesman explain later that he is
“committed” to the creation of a Palestinian state as a part of a solution to
the century-long conflict.
American politicians long have exploited
Israel as a means of attracting votes and money. Viewing the Jewish community as
a bank plays into the pernicious stereotype that all Jews are
And while I think most American Jews are smart enough to see
through Gingrich’s ignorance – although they are not quite good enough to marry
Israelis, according to some right-wing Israeli politicians – what Gingrich said
is offensive and racist.
First of all, there’s the statement itself. What
does it mean that the Palestinians are an “invented”? That they didn’t live in
Palestine prior to 1948? Is he calling irrelevant the fact that my father was
born in Jerusalem and that his family goes back more than 15 generations there?
Secondly, when was Israel ever a nation? More than 2,000 years ago? And what
kind of nation was it? Was it democratic? Where Jews the first inhabitants of
Palestine? Using logic such as Gingrichs’, many anti- Semites can and do argue
that Israelis are an invention, too.
The people who should be most
offended are Americans. If we are going to talk about an “invented” people and
nation, what fits the bill more than America, which was “invented” by pilgrims
who fled Europe and then, after being welcomed by the Native American “Indians”
proceeded to steal the Native Americans’ lands for themselves. They then
confined the Native Americans on “reservations” only recently giving them
compensation and special privileges, like operating casinos.
IS THAT what
Israelis want in an American president? An idiot willing to say anything for
money and votes? How dependable would Gingrich really be in defending Israel if
he so easily panders to popular whims? Every candidate for major national office
panders to Jewish voters. If I were Jewish, I’d be insulted.
Republican Right panders to Jewish and Israeli interests more than any American
political group and they are most closely involved with the Christian
And what do Christian Evangelicals believe? Well,
they believe that the messiah will not come until Israel is established and the
Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem.
But do they believe that Jews will be
treated any differently than other non-Christians afterwards? No. In fact, while
they support Israel for that very fundamental Christian belief, they also
believe in “Part B” of their Book of Revelation: that when the messiah does
return, he’ll only take true Christians and everyone else, including Jews, will
burn in hell.
As far as fundamentalist Christian support for Israel is
concerned, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is that they view Israel as a means
to an end. They can’t have the “rapture” unless Israel achieves its goals. But,
to be saved, Jews will have to also embrace Jesus as the messiah and the
Christian religion, which in effect means renouncing their own
Personally, as a Christian, I have a strong belief in the
fundamentals of the Jewish religion.
Though I am not a Jew (I’m married
to one) I see Jews and Christians as being children of the same God and
spiritual belief structure.
Christians would not be here were it not for
But I don’t think pandering to get votes is a good way to build
a foundation for peace in the Middle East.
The only answer to the
Arab-Israeli conflict is to eliminate the fanatics and extremists who exist on
both sides. And among those fanatics, at the head of the line, stands Gingrich,
an American politician who is weighed down with more baggage than Ben-Gurion
The only “invented” person here is Newt Gingrich – a phony,
shallow politician who has proven that there is nothing he won’t say to claim
power in the United States.
The writer is an award winning columnist and
radio talk show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com.