Saturday, December 17, 2011

John E. Sununu op-ed: "Gingrich's lie reveals his bigotry"

Former U.S. Senator John E. Sununu had this to say about Newt Gingrich and his tendency to let his mouth lead his brain in the following op-ed:
WHEN BIGOTS speak, their words have purpose. They intentionally choose phrases that inflame, denigrate, and marginalize other races, religions, or nationalities. They employ distortions and stereotypes to bolster false arguments. Which brings us to Newt Gingrich, who in an interview last week derided “an invented Palestinian people.’’ His comments were a calculated — but demonstrably false — slander, designed to curry favor with a constituency for which he cares by insulting one for which he does not.

With one callous statement he dismissed the plight of 4 million people and their desire for self-determination. Questioned about the controversial statement during a debate on Monday, he piled falsehood upon falsehood. The word “Palestinian,’’ he asserted, “did not become a common term until after 1977.’’ In denying the legitimacy of Palestinians’ identity, Gingrich’s only purpose was to deny any justification for a two-state solution for Middle East peace. If Palestinians are invented, the implication goes, so too must be their objection to the status quo.

During the debate, Gingrich claimed to “stand for the truth,’’ but that apparently does not require telling the truth. His statements are a complete fabrication. Documents prepared by the Arab Office in Jerusalem during the 1930s and ’40s refer frequently to “Palestinian Arabs,’’ “Palestinian Citizens,’’ and the potential formation of a “Palestinian State.’’ The 1973 CIA Atlas of Middle East Issues speaks of “Palestinians’’ and “Palestinian Refugees.’’
Contrary to Gingrich’s insinuation, Palestine is a real place found on maps of all kinds, created by people of all races, for hundreds of years; and the people living there have long been identified with it. The Official 1931 Census of Palestine, conducted under British auspices, counted 850,000 Palestinian Arabs - both Muslim and Christian - and 175,000 Jews. Gingrich noted that the Ottomans once ruled the region, as if that justified his statements. But the Ottoman Empire included Syria and much of the Balkans. Are they invented people too?


Language can be a wonderful and powerful tool — all the more reason for political leaders to use it thoughtfully and with care. Gingrich’s disgraceful behavior addressing such a difficult and sensitive issue demonstrates that he cannot be trusted to use words carefully. Why should anyone trust him with more?

Read the full op-ed HERE.

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Terrye said...

Gingrich was just sowing off. He could care less what effect his statements might have.

I support Israel, but I also think that making statements like this are not about supporting Israel..they are about Gingrich getting attention for himself.

The fact is that after the fall of the Ottoman Empire the region was cut up by the Brits and a great deal of it could be called "invented" if you follow Gingrich's reasoning.

I read an account once of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto and the handful of people who escaped that place..where did they go? They themselves called it Palestine. Of course they were real Zionists, people dedicated to fighting for a homeland for the Jewish people. We have to keep these things in the context of their an historian Gingrich should know that.

Ohio JOE said...

"They themselves called it Palestine." That does not mean that they are ethnically Palestinian. I am an Ohioan, but I have yet to meet an ethnic Ohioan.

Anonymous said...

you haven't met a native american from the Miami Tribe, OJ?

Anonymous said...

Found this in the Deseret News the other day by Daniel Peterson:

Part of the article:

"Third, it's true that a specifically Palestinian identity is a relatively recent development. But it's false to suggest that this only became current "after 1977."

The name "Palestine" stems from the ancient Philistines, who formed an independent state alongside the ancient biblical kingdom of Israel. Greeks and Romans regularly used the term, and the Romans officially gave the name "Palestine" to the province of Judea around 135 C.E., after the second Jewish revolt. The name survived throughout the Middle Ages under both Arab and Ottoman rulers, who routinely referred to Palestine's residents as "Palestinians." Medieval and early modern Jewish writers also often called the Holy Land "Palestine."

A sense of Palestinian identity is clearly evident in the Arab-organized Syrian-Palestinian Congress of 1921 and was fostered by the establishment, under the League of Nations, of the "British Mandate for Palestine" in 1922. In 1927, more than twenty years before the founding of Israel, Palestinian coins were issued bearing the name "Palestine." Even the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created in 1964, thirteen years before Newt Gingrich's "1977."

Fourth, it's false to say that Palestinians were "invented" as propaganda. Palestinians have had a distinct and quite depressing history of their own for at least a century. It would be inexplicably bizarre if they had failed to develop a separate sense of identity. Moreover, their Arabic dialect is recognizably unique.

Fifth, it's misleading to suggest that Palestinian identity is merely a tool used by "the Arabs" to manipulate the West. Arabs themselves, though universally sympathetic to Palestinian grievances, perceive Palestinians as distinct. In fact, though this is seldom openly discussed, displaced Palestinians living in their "diaspora" have often been felt, and resented, as a foreign presence in the Gulf and elsewhere in the Arab world—including, even, in Jordan."

Teemu said...

As a historian it was stupid comment too. For example, pretty much none of the present European national identities existed 2000 years ago, throughout the history people have had different loyalties and identities, to their tribe, city, duchy etc. Some national identities have merged, some disappeared, some new formed. I don't think it is particularly relevant, whether their national identity formed 70, 100 or 200 years ago.

Pablo said...

Excellent article and Bosman beat me to the punch. This is the kind of article that we all need to bookmark and reference in the future.

kev2m6 said...

Newt was being Newt by saying what he said and he never said the term Palestinian was created In 1977, he said it came to be used widely then. That being said, Sunnunu is hurting the campaign by calling Newt a bigot. We just went through three years of being called racists for not supporting Obama. Republicans do not play the victim or race cards. Doing that in a GOP primary is dangerous to Romney. Newt is many things, a bigot is not one of them.