December 10, 2011
In an interview with Steven Weiss of The Jewish Channel following the Republican Jewish Coalition forum earlier this week Newt Gingrich said the Palestinians are an “invented people.”
“I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state, and I believe that the commitments that were made at a time. 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. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940’s, and I think it’s tragic.”
Gingrich also aligned himself with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to foreign policy.
“I see myself as in many ways being pretty close to Bibi Netanyahu in thinking about the dangers of the world. I believe in a tough-minded realism. I believe that if somebody is firing rockets at you, they are probably not engaged in the peace process. I believe if somebody goes around and says you don’t have a right to exist, they’re probably not prepared to negotiate for peace,” he said. “I think if someone says they wanna wipe you out, you should believe them. So I see a much more tougher-minded, and much more honest approach to the Middle East in a Gingrich administration.”
Ben Smith at Politico notes that casting the legitimacy of the Palestinian state into question Gingrich, should he get the nomination, sets “a sharply confrontational tone toward the Arab world.”
The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty says that as a crazy as this may sound it’s a stance that will strongly appeal to the evangelicals.