Friday 23 December 2011

On Gingrich and the Palestinians

You know, I have to simply bite the bullet: most of my friends and relatives are Islam apologists (it's a "Religion of Peace", the "extremists" have "hijacked" it, and so on), and pro the Palestinian narrative (the Jews invaded and stole the land from long-term residents of Palestine, and so on).
The other night I was at a dinner party, when someone raised the issue of Newt Gingrich's recent statement about the invention of "Palestine".  They were getting all huffy about him, silly right-wing Republican, and all that.  I intervened and said that his statement, if you parsed it closely, was 100% correct.  I happened to have just read the evidence for this, and when I mentioned it, they stopped with their line, I think cause they recognised that I had facts on my side.  Then they asked about what was the true story about the Middle East, as all they read and watched was the main-stream media, so I got into that a bit too, as, again, I had some knowledge and facts on my side.
What's interesting, and kind of sad, is that none of them had done any research on any of the issues, relying instead on just what they saw in the MSM.
Anyway, I'm going to halt this here, as I'm not feeling that well, and maybe will update later. For now, I'll just note some references on Newt's statement.
Update: the fact that Palestinians are an "invented" people is not to say that they shouldn't have their own land -- after all, Jordanians are an "invented" people, Pakistanis too, and many others. It's just that the basis for getting their state should not be that they've "always" been there in Palestine, as "Palestinians" and were only "driven out" by the Jews, for that's not the truth either.  
Meantime, it seems to me that the writers on the right of the question -- that is, those that support the Gingrich statement -- do so in a crunchy way, like carrots.  That is, with facts and figures.  On the other side, you have soft squishy stuff, like fairy floss, emotion as "argument". An example of the latter is "We are Palestinians", by Daoud Kuttab, which is mere ipse dixit as "argument".

Gingrich's statement:
"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," Gingrich said. "And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940's, and I think it's tragic." 

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