Palestinians ‘an invented’ people? Lieberman rejects Gingrich view

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the first Jew to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket, disagrees with GOP candidate Newt Gingrich‘s view that the Palestinians are “an invented” people.

Mr. Gingrich “expressed one view” of the Palestinians’ history, Senator Lieberman said Tuesday at a Monitor-hosted breakfast with reporters. “There are others, of course, that are quite different. To me the important fact is, the Palestinians are a people today and any resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has to be between two peoples, two nations.”

Last week, former House Speaker Gingrich told an interviewer from cable TV’s Jewish Channel that Palestinians’ effort to gain statehood was the result of “an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and were historically part of the Arab community.”

Gingrich came under fire for that comment from other Republican presidential candidates at a debate Saturday in Iowa. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called Gingrich’s comments “a mistake.” Gingrich responded that Palestinian groups “are terrorists,” adding that ”sometimes it’s helpful to have a president of the United States who tells the truth.”

R.C. Hammond, a Gingrich campaign spokesman, later released a statement elaborating upon the candidate’s views: It said, “Gingrich supports a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians which will necessarily include agreement between Israel and the Palestinians over the borders of a Palestinian state.”

Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, was the first Jew to be on a major party ticket, when he was Democrat Al Gore’s vice-presidential pick in 2000. At the breakfast on Tuesday, he said there is irony in the fact that “a greater majority of Israelis are prepared to accept the idea of a Palestinian state for a Palestinian people than Palestinians are prepared to accept a Jewish state of Israel for the Jewish people. And that, of course, has to be resolved in negotiations.”

The senator, an observant Orthodox Jew, said the bottom line is that “whatever one’s view of history, the Palestinian people-hood is a reality today, and we have to both respect and deal with that reality as we try to resolve the conflict.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Jim Roth on 12/14/2011 - 12:09 pm.

    Gingrich is an irresponsible voicebox who spouts his flavor of the day. I realize he has some kind of degree and characterizes himself as an historian, but his views and opinions and excuses are all over the map.

  2. Submitted by Lance Groth on 12/14/2011 - 04:01 pm.

    AFAIK, “Palestinian” does not negate “Arab”. Egyptians and Lebanese have strong identities as Egyptians and Lebanese, I can tell you from people I’ve known, but they are still Arabs. The one does not diminish the other.

    Gingrich should really just shut his mouth. His statement is like saying there are no national identities among white people, they’re all just Caucasians. This is just the most recent example of Gingrich’s inevitable flame-out – he just can’t resist shooting off his mouth about anything and everything. He is, after all, a “Deep Thinker” ™, you know. Ready, fire, aim, that’s Newt. The GOP’s greatest gift to Obama would be to nominate Newt.

  3. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 12/14/2011 - 05:46 pm.

    Before the 1960’s, those “Palestinians” *were* Arabs. Suddenly, they were Palestinians. They’re actually Jordanians and Egyptians, though their Brothers and Sisters in Islam won’t let them into their respective countries. They’ll even kill thousands of them during Black September.

    Misters Gingrich and Soetoro should have those Lincoln-Douglas style debates. I’d pay to watch that one.

  4. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/15/2011 - 11:33 am.

    Lieberman does not note that Palestinians and others — including many Jews — who object to the idea of “a Jewish state of Israel for the Jewish people” are referring to the current Israeli government, which wants there to be no Palestinians living within its borders. That some have been Israeli citizens born in Israel of Israeli-Arab parents carries no weight with the government, which has for some years been reducing the civil rights guaranteed by law to its Palestinian citizens.

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