Sunday, December 11, 2011

Newt Gingrich on Palestine

Newt Gingrich's position on Palestine does not deserve much response. Juan Cole's post on the subject is pretty much all anyone needs to read to thoroughly rebut Gingrich's claims.
The important thing to realize is that Gingrich is not an outlier in Washington, and that the US government consistently acts as though it believes exactly what Gingrich says.
But historically, Gingrich's claims are nonsense.
It is stupid because all nations are invented, and they have all been invented in the past couple of hundred years. There were peoples in pre-modern times, but in the absence of printing, literacy, modern communications, and the new post-empire model of the Enlightenment state with its educational institutions, they weren’t really nations. Those who supposedly spoke a common language couldn’t even understand one another across regions (north and south Italy, e.g.) As Eric Hobsbawm observed, people think that nations created states, but in fact states created nations. States standardized languages, e.g.

So the Palestinians aren’t more of an invented nation than anyone else.

Gingrich said that there had never been a Palestinian state in history. If you want to play the romantic nationalist game of finding ancient forebears for modern nations, it would be easy in the case of the Palestinians, who were mentioned by the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians. But today’s Palestinians are equally descended from the ancient Canaanites and as well as from the ancient Jews.


The European Jews ultimately formed a third of the population in Mandate Palestine, and at the end of WW II, they became militant, formed militias, assassinated officials, engaged in terrorism, and ultimately chased the British out and ethnically cleansed some 700,000 Palestinians, allowing them to create the state of Israel. The 1948 war did not necessitate the ethnic cleansing. Jordanian forces never threatened to come into the territory designated for Israel in the UNGA partition plan.
I'd add that what has happened with Gingrich and the Republicans is that Barack Obama is so similar in his Middle East policies to George Bush that in order to differentiate themselves Republicans have to move further out on the ideological spectrum. Obama having black skin makes the effect even more pronounced.

1 comment:

Lidia said...

Of course, "his" arguments are just copy-paste of usual hasbara. 

Of course, Cole is not being 100% honest as well. For ex, Jewish settlers had NOT "became militant" at the end of WWII. They were armed and terrorizing native Palestinians all along, otherwise they could not turn land, worked by Palestinians for thousand years to "Hebrew labor". 

Cole uses Gringrich as a "bad cop" to defend "good cop" Obama.