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Invented People

At the Republican debate where multimillionaire candidate Mitt Romney bet slow candidate Rick Perry $10,000 as to whether Romney was a member of the Obama revolutionary socialized medicine cadre or not, book hawker and corrupt former Congressman Newt Gingrich averred that Palestinians were (a) all terrorists; and (b) an “invented” people.

Setting aside the tea party pandering about all Muslims being terrorists, I’m more fascinated by the “invented people” crack. Members of, say, the Navajo or Seneca Nation might very well ask what the hell Gingrich thinks “Americans” are.


  • Max

    Let’s not forget the Gingrich insider role in greasing the wheels in the offal D.C. atmosphere. It’s a very bleak prospect to witness these arrogant buffoons being offered up for leadership; I can only discern that it’s the triumph of the ‘low information voter.’

  • Jim Holstun

    Gingrich is mouthing a Zionist favorite: because the Palestinians didn’t have a nation of their own–they just lived there, in Palestine–it’s okay for Zionists to push them off. He supplements this with another favorite–they’re not “Palestinians,” just “Arabs” so they can be shoved out into Arabland.

    Joan Peters’s FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL is the most recent spin on this argument, but it has perennial appeal for everyone who wants their land for the invention of the Israeli people.

    But what more should we expect from a “scholar” whose history dissertation focused on all the good things Belgium did for the Congo?

  • “Invented” may be a poor choice of words, but would you accept “recently conceived?” A nation is a group of people with a shared history and interests. What we call Palestinians now used to be Arabs that lived between Syria and Egypt. The creation of Israel created Palestinians, as they were booted off their land by UN mandate and bled together. As an analogy, if Canada invaded the Adirondacks, there would suddenly be Adirondackians, where there used to just be New Yorkers who lived in the Adirondacks. Gingrich makes a fair historical point that serves no legit purpose besides cynically attracting Jewish votes.

    • Alan Bedenko

      If you’re saying that, e.g., Jordanians are not ethnically differently from Palestinians or Syrians, you’re probably right. However, what makes up a contemporary nation isn’t merely based on ethnicity or race; it’s also based on a shared cultural history and experience. The United States is made up of as many different ethnicities, races, and nations as exist on the planet, but we consider ourselves Americans because we have created a polyethnic nation-state based on an ideology, a set of laws, and a shared cultural/historical experience.

      Yugoslavia was a recently conceived multinational invention that recently failed. However, one would be hard-pressed to find any significant ethnic differences between, e.g., Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, and Bosnian Muslims, as all of those divisions were inventions through historical events and accidents. Same basic language, a variety of religions, two alphabets, but they can all communicate with each other well enough, so that when they’re not engaging in the occasional genocide against each other, they’re busy trying to create together a kingdom, a dictatorship, or a socialism paradise based on worker self-management.

      Colonial boundaries were seldom drawn up with much respect to the natural boundaries between separate & distinct peoples.

      What matters, however, isn’t Mr. Gingrich’s understanding of the nuances of nationhood, ethnicity, race, religion, or statehood. What matters is that Mr. Gingrich would throw gasoline on what’s become the eternal flame of religious/cultural strife in the Middle East by essentially de-legitimizing the very concept of Palestinians having the right to self-identify as a separate and distinct Palestinian nation, or the right to self-determination as a nation-state. I think that’s the outrage of Gingrich’s quip, which was, as you say, a cynical way to attract Jewish votes, but goes against what we should be advocating – a peaceful, Democratic Palestinian state that can live side-by-side with Israel.

  • Hank

    Alan Commented
    what we should be advocating – a peaceful, Democratic Palestinian state that can live side-by-side with Israel.

    For probably the first time on a foreign Policy issue, I agree with Alan. Even in his total ineptitude and inexperience, so does Obama–So did Bush 43,Clinton, Bush 41, Reagan, Carter, Ford and Nixon. So probably do most Americans agree.

    There’s only one catch, YOU CAN’T GET THE PALESTINIANS TO GO ALONG. They want the total destruction of the Israeli State, Government, and ALL THE JEWS DEAD.

    Nothing new, that’s what they’ve wanted for around 5000 years. And Especially since the creation of Israel in 1948. When the rest of the Ottoman Empire was broken up by fiat after WW1, there was no uprisings and dissentions, as they were all Arabs anyway.

    The Jews will not go to the slaughter as lambs like they did in the last century. They would rather turn a couple of their neighboring countries into glass parking lots. Can’t say I blame them.

    AFAIC, Any Palestinan who runs is a terrorist. Any Palestinian who stands still is a well disciplined terrorist. I’ve fought against them. Any group of people who believe there is a place in heaven for them after they kill themselves and take a bunch of innocent men, women and children with them, need a serious wake up call. But they don’t want to hear it. Bullets waste less time.

  • BuffaloGirl

    Ha!

  • A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it
    also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: “I, the state, am the
    people.”

    It is a lie! Creators were they who created peoples, and hung a
    faith and a love over them: thus they served life.

    Destroyers, are they who lay snares for many, and call it the state.

    Also sprach Zarathustra
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Jim Holstun

    Gee whiz, “Hank,” what a profoundly stupid and hateful comment. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a call for genocide in ARTVOICE before. I can’t tell which is greater: your ignorance of history in the post-Ottoman Empire, your ignorance of coexistence among Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others in Palestine; your ignorance of the ethnic makeup of the Ottoman Empire; or your pinhead belief that THE CAPS KEY MAKES YOU SOUND SMARTER.

    Why is it that haters like you never have a full, real name, “Hank”?

    Brian Castner’s comment is a little better: “What we call Palestinians now used to be Arabs that lived between Syria and Egypt.” Uh, many of them still are Arabs living between Syria and Egypt. But Palestinians also have a continuous cultural and social presence in Palestine. You do not need a nation to be a people (ask a Tutsi, or a Roma, or a diaspora Jew), and the Palestinians murdered and ethnically cleansed from Palestine from 1947 to the present had a “shared history and interests” (your definition of a “people”) before 1947 too: a particular Arabic dialect, foods, customs, dress, forms of agriculture, city life, class system, literature, a history of resistance to occupation, with internal complexities and divisions like any other people you can name.

    Western New Yorkers have many cultural affinities with Ontarians. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t Western New Yorkers, or that people from Pennsylvania, or Nepal, can come along and shove us across the Niagara River, using the excuse that “they’re just Niagarans.”

    Palestine will be free.

  • hank

    Jim—Last name’s Kaczmarek—Born and Raised in Riverside. Want my e-mail too?
    I’m not an artsy fartsy liberal. But I’ve bled for your right to be an idiot if you so desire.

    BTW, You’re an infidel. Palestinians would be happy to cut your heart out if you don’t accept the teachings of Mohammed. You’d be amazed at how these “Cultured” Palestians will come at you with a knife.

    Keep those rose colored glasses on bud, you’ll need them.

  • Jim Holstun

    Hey, Hank Kaczmarek of Riverside: I have about twenty or thirty Palestinian friends, and not one of them has ever cut my heart out, Muslims and Christians (you did know that Palestinians are Muslims and Christians and Druze and atheists, right Hank? Please tell me you at least knew that). Just lucky I guess.

    Unless you bled in World War II, you haven’t bled for my right to anything except pay higher taxes for capitalist war contractors and lousy VA medical care for wounded veterans. And if you did fight in WWII, I thank you sincerely for your sacrifice, but it doesn’t make your moronic, murderous, racist babble anything but what it is. Really, Hank, read a book and stop frothing and hating.

    Incidentally, I’m not an artsy fartsy liberal either, Hank. I’m an artsy fartsy (pffftttt!) red damned commie Bolshevik marxist. Boo!

    Bye bye.