Sunday, December 11, 2011

An analogy for Gingrich's idea of "invented" Palestinians

Ever since I watched the video where Gingrich calls Palestinians an invented people, I've been trying to think of an analogy that would show just how ridiculous he's being.

Recognizing that any analogy is going to have weaknesses, what comes to mind is that it would be like saying the Sioux or Cherokee or Navajo are "invented people." Just as the Palestinians lived in the Middle East prior to the formation of a country we recognize as Israel, those Native Americans lived in the United States before Western Europeans came along and claimed a country. And just as the Palestinians were part of a larger Arab empire, Native American tribes were spread all over both the North and South American continents.

So I wonder...would Gingrich call the Sioux or Cherokee or Navajo "invented people?"


  1. I wonder if Newt would even call the "people"?

  2. Your analogy is somewhat flawed. It is true that the ancestors of the Palestinians have lived in the region before the existence of the State of Israel. (And Jews would say that their ancestors have lived in the same region even longer.) But Palestinians had no distinct national identity or culture in the way that the Sioux or Cherokee or Navajo did. You can't really distinguish Palestinians as a culture or nation from other Arab peoples who currently live in Jordan or some parts of Egypt or Syria or elsewhere. That is not to say that there were no distinct Arab tribes and cultures, but they do not correspond very well to the national boundaries that for the most part were imposed by colonial powers.

    But even if Gingrich is historically correct to some extent, his statement is out of touch and irrelevant because it ignores more recent history. The fact is that the Palestinian national identity has been forged to a large extent over the last 60 years during the existence of the State of Israel, and we can't ignore the fact that there is a Palestinian national identity today. To try to obliterate that national identity, which is essentially what Gingrich is suggesting, is just unrealistic and unworkable.