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Gingrich won’t like where his logic leads.

So this is the week that Newt Gingrich has called the Palestinians an invented people.  Gingrich is partly right.  But not in the way he thinks.  No doubt Gingrich believes that Palestinians are the only ‘invented’ people (or one of a few) which is quite ridiculous coming from an American it has to be said.  The reality is, ALL peoples are invented. All nations, all identities, all races, are man made constructs. That is, they are concepts borne in the mind of man and reinforced by his own perception of what he views as the ‘other’. With emphasis on how he views himself and how he believes he and his ‘people’ should organise their lives.

Gingrich further added

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

The claim made by Gingrich that there never was a Palestinian state is one often made by people hostile to the plight of the Palestinians. This claim is made in an attempt to deny an indigenous people the right to dwell on their own land.  What this claim essentially does is, it takes what is after all a modern European concept – the idea of the nation state – and uses that as a prism through which to view a non-European people and judge them as not being worthy of the right to live on their own land.  Remember also, that the word Palestine has existed in some etymological form for far longer than the names of most states in the world today.

Furthermore to take Gingrich’s ‘logic’ and apply it elsewhere means that Britain should still be ruling all of Ireland, as well as large swathes of Africa and the Orient, because before John Bull set about ‘civilizing’ us savages (Im irish – one of those invented identities) we did not meet the Gingrich standard of ‘a state’ either.  And just like the Palestinians, we Irish developed our identity and emerging sense of nationalism through refusal to bow to the demands of an outsider intent on dispossessing us.

We could also go into the fact that the League of Nations had classified Palestine as a class A mandate – a status which meant it was considered most ready for full independence, but that would take us down a technically legislative route decent moral people need not take.

To take Gingrich’s other claim that because Palestinians are ethnically Arabs, they could go elsewhere, is the old Arab = Arab argument.  For Gingrich forcing someone off their land is fine if they live next to a country they can speak the language of.  Aside from being an absolute obscenity and a legitimization for ethnic cleansing, it ignores the core of the conflict.

We routinely hear from the likes of Gingrich that world Jewry have ‘historic’ ties to the Holy Land.  These ‘historic’ ties unfortunately pale next to the very real tangible ties that Palestinians have to their land. Unlike world Jewry, the Palestinians actually lived, breathed, farmed, loved, died and buried their loved ones in that land.  It matters not a jot what the people of Palestine called themselves, or whether or not they fulfilled the requirements of the western concept of a ‘state’.  They existed, they were there, they were and are fellow humans, period.

They did this whilst sharing one language, eating similar food, having cultural customs and all the other accoutrement’s of what the concept of ‘a people’ encompasses.  In point of fact, if we are to use Gingrich’s standard of who is worthy of a state, the Palestinian people actually tick more boxes of the concept of a people/nation/race than world Jewry does.  Gingrich’s beliefs mean that any of my Irish brethren who are Jewish are not really Irish.  I reject such an odious view outright.  But you can bet your bottom dollar Newt won’t want to examine where his logic leads, and so unfortunately, many will lap up his obnoxious ‘reasoning’.

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16 responses to “Gingrich won’t like where his logic leads.

  1. Bill ⋅

    Not only should John Bull still be ruling Ireland and large swaths of the Orient by Gingrich’s logic, but the Thirteen Colonies as well.

    • RepStones

      Good point Bill. And if ever there was an invented nation, its our American cousins, a patchwork of a nation stitched from various other nations, themselves man-made.

  2. Ramzi Nohra ⋅

    On the money. I read a quote from Elie Eliacher – a Palestinian Jewish Zionist (ie his family were Mizrahi and pre-dated European influx) said ” the arguments which purportedly prove that there is no Palestinian entity …. are totally unacceptable to me…historically, the Arabs living in Palestine had an ethnic background entirely different from that of other countries” (Not the enemy, Rachel Shabi p33)

    In relation to the Jewish people, i would personally describe them as a collection of ethnicities. Hard to think of the Falasha and my blond-haired and blue-eyed Jewish friends as being the same ethnicity (although I appreciate that is a bit simplistic). Anyway, that is a separate discussion.

  3. ThomasTruth ⋅

    “the Palestinians actually lived, breathed, farmed, loved, died and buried their loved ones in that land. ”

    How convenient that you and the other jew haters can ignore the Jewish presence in that land for several millenia. But now the modern Israelis have lived, breathed, farmed, loved, died on the land for a couple generations, so by your own argument it is their land now.

    • Ramzi Nohra ⋅

      Excellent.

      How is he ignoring it? I think he is just saying having a presence in an area doesn’t give a right to ethnically cleanse most of the majority population.
      In any other situation this would be viewed as a truism.

      You may also want to evidence this “Jew hater” thing- or else you will look somewhat foolish.

    • RepStones

      Please provide one shred of evidence for my alleged ‘jew-hate’. And please explain why it is you think Christianity and Islam spread in the Levant without any converts FROM Judaism. Furthermore please do tell us why the indigenous jews of Palestine wanted nothing to do with Zionism in the beginning, and indeed please explain why Zionists murdered their Dutch Jewish representative, Jacob Israel De-Haan.

      You seem to think the Palestinians were ‘interlopers’ of some kind. Palestinians are descended from a variety of peoples, including for example – Canaanites, Jewish converts to Islam or Christianity and from arab conquerers. World Jewry themselves are a patchwork of various peoples, with forced conversion to Judaism under the Hasmoneans, as well as the mass conversion of the Khazar’s in the steppes of the Caucasus around the turn of the ninth century. Not to mention the falasha of Africa. The idea that world Jewry have some kind of claim to a strip of land in the Levant, ignores this undeniable history.
      You seem to have it into your head that Palestinians are simply descendent’s of the Islamic conquests. Unfortunately for you, thats a fairytale. A conquered people often take on the language, customs and religion of their conquerers. You must think that by virtue of the fact that irish people, aboriginals, and native americans now all speak English, they are therefore from Britain.
      I suggest you take the bible from your history section, and shelve it in your fiction section. Read some real history please.

  4. Pingback: No Freedom of Expression in the Shadow of the Occupation « KADAITCHA

  5. Nate

    Right, what matters is that a people feels they are one; but it seems undeniable that their national identity was carved as being different from say Jordanians or Syrians by their conflict with the Zionists–that doesn’t make them illegitimate, it just means they do not have a claim that predates the Zionist one, at least in terms of national feeling. But if the right of self-determination is granted to anyone who claims it, then I don’t understand not supporting Chechen, Kurdish, Basque, Catalon, Confederate, Baloch, etc. independence movements.
    On the claim that, well by living in their villages before Jews lived there they have certain rights, that gets into tricky territory. 400,000 Arabs migrated into Mandate Palestine between WWI and WWII, a similar number to the amount of Jews who emigrated in that period. Whose descendants have more “rights”? Tens of thousands of Jews were in Palestine before WWI, are they somehow more entitled than later Arab migrants? If the criterion is being born there first, there are plenty of kids in West Bank settlements, in land previously unoccupied, who have known no other homes. Or take the kids from the Gaza settlements ethnically cleansed from the strip. Perhaps their “rights” need to be recognized, compensated, etc.
    Anyone can play the game of national sentimentality and victimhood, it’s a dead end.

    • RepStones

      Sorry but the claim that most Palestinians were just immigrants is based on a long debunked fraudulent piece of scholarship. Joan Peters work is not only upheld by extremists and idiots (not mutually exclusive categories).

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_Time_Immemorial

      Palestine was overwhelming arab since before zionist settlers started making aliyah in the late 1800’s.

      • Nate

        I never said most were immigrants. You said it didn’t matter what they called themselves, just that they were there first. My argument was that, well, some Jews got there before some Palestinians. Do those Jews have more rights? Because you’re argument in that case seems to be about individual human or propperty rights rather than identifying yourself as a nation in modern terms. So then what about the Jews who have lived, farmed, and buried in the last hundred years, on both sides of the 1949 armistice lines? And what about the Jews who didn’t choose where they were born? I presume they are historical accidents and might have to pay for their parents “sins”. Or at best they can stay, but they can’t call themselves or live as Israelis–an identity which has formed and is real, even if very different from the Diaspora Jewry.
        And I retract the 400,000 number, I thought I’d read it on mideastweb.org, but I didn’t. Here’s what they do say about Arab immigration before 1947 (and they agree that Joan Peters work is bogus.): We have no idea how Arabs migrated in, it could be 20,000, it could be 200,000. But the living standards were considerably higher in Palestine than in the surrounding Arab lands, and Jewish population centers attracted Arabs.
        http://www.mideastweb.org/palpopold.htm

  6. Nate

    If Palestinian particularism was in evidence before conflict with Zionists, where was the resistance to Ottoman rule? The northern half of “Palestine” was ruled from Beirut from the 1880s to the arrival of the British, but I don’t remember any resistance to the Lebanese occupation.

    • RepStones

      Considering Lebanon only gained independence in 1943 i think you are confused. And you miss the point of my post completely. It matters not a jot if the indigenous Palestinians viewed themselves as a ‘people’. The fact they did not adhere to western notions of what constitutes a people or a nation does not magically mitigate their human rights. Furthermore, it was western powers which brought to the middle east the concept of nation states. So to talk about ‘occupation’ by another arab power ignores the dynamics at work. Not to mention that when governed by the Ottomans, the Palestinians were under no threat of expulsion. The Ottomans did not envisage flooding the land with foreigners with the express purpose of establishing an ethnocentric state where they would either be expelled or live as second class citizens.

      • Nate

        So the fact that Palestinians exhibited no modern signs of nationality, and only a threat aroused the modern national feeling, or made statehood necessary–I think you just described Zionism!
        So the Lebanese only come into existence when they get statehood…I’m really getting confused.

  7. repstones

    Nate, i haven’t just described Zionism. For your information Zionism preceded the Holocaust by at least 2-3 generations. Indeed it was witnessing the l’affaire Dreyfus, that first put the seed of Zionism into Herzl’s head. And the Lebaneze didn’t only come into existence when they got statehood. the people who became the term Lebanese now describes existed. its pretty simple really.

  8. repstones

    Its really very simple nate. Zionism was, indeed is, a colonial ideology based upon many myths and which coveted and ultimately took the land of an indigenous pople who were viewed as a ‘non-people’ because they did not fit the european idea (remember Zionism was a Jewish european invention) a nation. The fact that they did not fit this rather crude colonial way to look at people, did not relieve them of their basic human rights.

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