GOP Candidate and Presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich has made headlines with his recent claim that the Palestinians are an Invented People. The responses from across the idealogical and political spectrum have been as wild and varied as to be expected.
On one extreme, representatives of the Palestinians fired back at Gingrich. In a statement, they called Gingrich racist and said that his was the worst kind of insult that would only help the cycle of violence. On the other extreme are those nodding their heads in agreement at the prospect of a President who agrees with their perspective on the Palestinians.
Incredibly, the fact-checkers have confirmed and debunked Gingrich’s claim. There is evidence that the Palestinians existed as a small subgroup in the land that is currently Israel. However, there is little evidence that they had any sense of national pride or unity as a group before the State of Israel was established.
What strikes me is how silly this whole thing is. Gingrich’s comment could be equally said about a myriad of nations and peoples. It could really be said about anybody! What qualifies a nation as a “non-invented” people? How long do those people need to be where they are to be considered legitimate?
Is the United States of America not invented? Is the United Kingdom not Invented? Is Mexico not invented? Even historically ethnic countries such as Japan or Sweden are practically speaking “invented”. They lived in close proximity for a long time and eventually created a sense of national pride and unity. But they were not magically granted the land in which they live by some objective method of determining land division. Clearly land is not given only to nations who are not invented.
Further, let’s assume for a second that Gingrich is correct. The Palestinians are invented and invented people don’t get land. Now what? What are you going to do about it? Nuke the West Bank? Manufacture a tsunami and drown Gaza? There are millions of these so-called invented people. What now? Point being, invented or not, there is an issue that needs to be dealt with. By simply saying they are invented does nothing to resolve that issue. In fact, it probably has the opposite effect. It entrenches both sides and polarizes the parties.
And what about Gingrich himself? He is a Catholic. Is that an invented religion? If it is not, well that means that all other religions are invented. So are they all not granted the right to exist simply because they are invented? Everything is invented. Mazel tov.
Which brings us full circle. Gingrich said that Palestinians are an invented people simply to anger some people and excite others. It was a political statement that carries less meaning than most political statements. It is the kind of broad brushed, meaningless statement for which politics is famous.
I think the voting public would prefer to hear about solutions to a decades long conflict instead of whimsical platitudes. I wonder if Gingrich has any ideas for the conflict or if he can’t be bothered to deal with invented people.