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Gingrich remarks 'demeaning and ridiculous'
Published Saturday 10/12/2011 (updated) 11/12/2011 15:13
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Newt Gingrich. (AFP)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A top US presidential hopeful's denial of the Palestinian people's existence reflects a dark and racist worldview, Palestinian officials said Saturday.

The prime minister in Ramallah urged Newt Gingrich to apologize to the Palestinian people, after Gingrich called them "an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs."

“These are extremely trivial, demeaning and ridiculous remarks,” Salam Fayyad told reporters. “Even the most extremist settlers of Israel wouldn’t talk in such a ridiculous way.”

Racist banter is unbecoming of a candidate seeking the office of the presidency, especially of the most powerful country whose leaders boast of their respect for democracy and human rights, he said.

Such remarks would be better suited for a politician adhering to "a Nazi ideology, a source of suffering for humanity, and the Jews topped the list of victims” of that ideology, he said.

Gingrich along with other Republican candidates are seeking to attract Jewish support by vowing to bolster US ties with Israel if elected.

The former speaker of the US House of Representatives had predictably sided with Israel in its decades-old dispute with the Palestinians but took it a step further in his interview with the Jewish Channel.

The cable station posted online its interview with Gingrich, who has risen to the top of Republican polls with voting to start early next year to pick a nominee to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election.

He differed with official US policy that respects the Palestinians as a people deserving of their own state based on negotiations with Israel.

"Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire" until the early 20th century, Gingrich said.

"I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who 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 1940s, and it's tragic," he added.

Fayyad urged the Republican candidate to open a history book.

“He and his ilk should relearn their history, as seemingly the only thing he knows about is the Ottoman era. The way he distorts historic facts is unacceptable,” he said.

“Our people have been here from the beginning, and they are determined to remain on their land until the end,” Fayyad continued.

Most historians mark the start of Palestinian Arab nationalist sentiment in 1834, when Arab residents of the Palestinian region revolted against Ottoman rule.

Israel, founded amid the 1948 Arab-Israel war, took shape along the lines of a 1947 UN plan for ethnic partition of the then-British ruled territory of Palestine which Arabs rejected.

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Gingrich seemed to have lost touch with reality.

“His remarks reflect racism, and ignorance, and it is a cheap attempt to appeal to Jewish voters at the expense of the Palestinian people’s rights, and at the expense of peace in the region,” she said.

Other Palestinian officials were equally incensed.

Tayseer Khalid, a senior leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, called on both parties in the United States to avoid taking sides in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

They should not take an extremely defensive position in support of “the colonialist, aggressive policy of the State of Israel” in order to win votes, he added.

In his interview, Gingrich also broke with US policy supporting the Palestinian Authority.

He said the Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, represent "an enormous desire to destroy Israel."

The US government has sought to encourage the Palestinian Authority to negotiate with Israel but has labeled Hamas as a terrorist group.

Reuters contributed to this report.
1 ) AKeenReader / UK
10/12/2011 15:23
These Republicans talk a load of crap and only say to gain jewish votes and money. This is the policy of all Amercian Presidents and Candidates and the world knows about it. The same Obama is doing now as far as Israeli agression is concerned. And then they preach the world to be Democratic. They need to learn this word first and then preach others. Hypocrites!

10/12/2011 15:49
He would probably say the Indians were not Americans, that is how stupid these right wing zionist kiss asses are.

3 ) southparkbear / usa
10/12/2011 16:17
i fail to understand what is wrong with a former speaker, a professor and a cnadidate saying the truth. it's refreshing

4 ) abu Emeth / usa
10/12/2011 16:27
well, newt is just an AIPAC drone. in fact, i think the american people should remember that in 1995 when newt became speaker of the house of representatives in the usa, his wife marianne gingrich, was hired by th israel export development company, ltd, (iedc) as it's vice pres for business development even tho she had no experience what so ever in tht field. coinsdntaly she and newt wnt to israel in 1994 at AIPAC's expense. her salary ws $2,500 p mth commissions whch sh never revealed smstory

5 ) Tina / USA
10/12/2011 19:24
Idiots like this cannot be taken seriously so while it's upsetting that such racism exists, remember the source! Also, the truth is that regardless of how you label Palestinians, whether it's Arabs; Palestinians or natives, they are the indigenous people of the land between the rive and the sea. And there is no such thing as an ethnic Israeli! Vile racists like U.S. politicians, especially Republicans and "southparkbear" are simply there for the rest of us to point and laugh at.

6 ) Avril / England
10/12/2011 19:47
And the idiotic American public will probably vote in droves for this vile little man who obviously lies and knows nothing of the Palestinians history. Pure evil is what he is to canvas votes in this way. In fact USA is on a fast downward spiral as they only think of themselves and what can they get out of anything or anyone.Sorry for the decent ones but you need to kick ass!

7 ) Jim Kendall / USA
10/12/2011 19:58
"Israel" is as extinct as its god.

8 ) wjm / usa
10/12/2011 20:12
It is the Zionists who came to destroy the Palestinians, not the other way around, Mr Gingrish. Mr Gingrich cannot distinguish between the victim and the victimizers, those who came from Europe to destroy, and those trying to survive displacement and destruction of thier identity.

In fact, this is not an unusual view and is the majority view within the US Congress, that the Palestinian are 'just Arab' and are fungible.

9 ) Joe Fattal / USA
10/12/2011 22:22
If the Palestinians were invented people even though the Palestinians were the Phillistines years ago. I can say that the Israelis are borrowed people. Let me remind Mr. Gingrich that the US during WW2 refuse to disambarque the St. Louis a ship that sailed from Germany carying Jews to enter the US and had to return to Germany where its passengers were taken back to concentration camps. There was never any love between the US and Israel. They were purely created for the US convenience of it.

11/12/2011 01:06
Like that of his right wing cohort Sarah Palin with an IQ of an idiot at 83, Gingrich's can't be much higher and that's why the Republicans are having a hard time finding thier 2012 candidate... THEY ARE ALL IDIOTS.

11 ) shdk / djhdvbn
11/12/2011 01:41
i guess plenty of isrealis will be now voting for him

12 ) betz55 / USA
11/12/2011 01:48
Someone should point out to this pillsbury dough boy that there are no israelis, just a bunch of displaced eastern europeans jews. Furthermore someone should send him the Balfour Declarations and I quote "His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in PALESTINE..." Show this bloated, egotistical, idiot who doesn't have a chance is h*ll of being President the door.

13 ) Am / USA
11/12/2011 01:55
Newt is smart, and calculated. He targets the message to the right. Just imagine if Obama says if Israelis was invented people.....he would be plummeting.

14 ) silver / phil
11/12/2011 02:14
the zionist presidential hopefull committed historical blunder. when he lives in the white house. he will make america improvise.

15 ) Ismail and Isaac / Palestine
11/12/2011 02:48
When American supremacy and dominance is long gone, Palestine (and therefore Palestinians) will still exist.. as we've always existed. Another certainty is that history books will clearly draw the irrefutable connection between this particularly despicable American stance on Palestine and her inevitable, rapid downfall. By this, we are not referring to tanks and guns and bombs, but to principles and commandments and what is Written by the God of the Inss and Jinn. Amin.

16 ) Illiteracy of the / US
11/12/2011 04:22
Who cares what this idiot says? Who is he to define Palestinians identity. Palestinians know very well who they are. Zionists are the ones unable to define who is a Jew.

17 ) Jack / usa
11/12/2011 05:35
Follow the money. If you want to raise money for the elections say exactly what the people who have the paycheck want to hear. Unfortunately the middle eastern/ arab lobby isn't as strong as extreme Israeli and christian lobbies.

18 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/12/2011 05:36
'demeaning and ridiculous.' Could be worse. He could be running for the presidency of YOUR country. Think how embarrassing this slimeball is for us.

19 ) Colin Wright / USA
11/12/2011 05:39
To Avril #6 'And the idiotic American public will probably vote in droves for this vile little man who obviously lies and knows nothing of the Palestinians history.' Notta chance -- if not necessarily for the right reasons. Gingrich has a ton of baggage. The Democrats must be licking their chops at the prospect of facing him in a general election next year. He'd be DOA.

20 ) Elma / Canada
11/12/2011 06:09
Racist, ignorant pig of a politician. Politicians especially American ones are the lowest, hypocritical and self-serving. Look no where else than Hillary Clinton for the best example!

21 ) Bernard Levy / U.S.A
11/12/2011 07:13
Even Netanyahu wouldn't go as far as Newt Gingrich. Indeed however the Palestinians are Arabs. If Abas had made good use of his lawyer brain,when being offered half a loaf,he'd of grabbed it. Bibi certainly will now be embolded by Newt's remarks,and tougher to deal with.

22 ) Steve / USA
11/12/2011 17:28
Newt is absolutely correct. Jordan is Palestine, everyone knows this to be true.

23 ) mplo / United States
11/12/2011 20:20
What can one expect from a jerk like Newt Gingrich? It's not surprising that he spouted off this kind of garbage, but, as some people say, even the most extreme rightwing jewish Israelis wouldn't make the kind of remarks that Newt Gingrich just did. They've got more sense than that, and so do most people (hopefully)!

24 ) American Right exploit Jews / France
12/12/2011 07:49
The so called "evangelical" fundamentalist Christianists and far-right war promoters in the United States are fundamentally anti Jewish - they couldn't care at all about peace for the Jewish people - they just use Israel as a "weapon" of US war policy in the middle east. But it doesn't matter, America is a bankrupt society economically, financially and culturally - its divorce rate, family breakdown and all of its government war programmes all funded by borrowed money from China and Saudi Arabia
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