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Useful Fiction

Newt Gingrich says the Palestinians are an “invented people.” They are, like many others in the Middle East. It’s a useful myth the U.S. must support.

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Ramallah after the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in October. (Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

Are the Palestinians an “invented” people”? According to Newt Gingrich, now a top contender for the Republican presidential nomination, they certainly are. “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state,” he said earlier this month. “It was part of the Ottoman Empire. We have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab people.”

Unsurprisingly, Gingrich’s comments set off a firestorm. Some thought his observations were refreshingly honest, others argued they were needlessly provocative and extremely counterproductive. But as many commentators have noted, the Palestinians are one of many peoples whose nationhood is “invented.” In the Middle East alone, invented nations include Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, and even Turkey. Like the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza, these, too, were all once part of the Ottoman Empire. None existed before World War I, after which these jerry-built states united various, and often competing, sectarian, ethnic, and tribal identities.

The real question, then, is not whether Palestinian nationalism is “authentic,” but whether this particular national fiction is useful. Gingrich’s proposed alternative identity for the Palestinians—linking these Arabic-speaking, non-Jewish residents of the territories to the rest of the “the Arab people”—is bad for the region, the United States, and Israel.

The problem is that current Palestinian nationalism is not strong enough. If it were, Yasser Arafat and, later, Mahmoud Abbas might have been more inclined to accept the peace deals offered by Israeli prime ministers and American presidents. If Palestinian leadership were more like the early champions of Zionism, who wanted a state for the Jews no matter its size, then the conflict might have been resolved at any point over the last seven decades.

Maybe the Palestinians are still waiting for a better deal. Perhaps, as some argue, the Palestinians really believe that they’ll eventually manage to drive the Jews into the sea. In any case, one of the major problems is that the decision has never been entirely in the hands of the Palestinians. Even before the United Nations partition plan of 1947, there have always been external regional forces trying to prevent a resolution to the Palestinian problem, since prolonging the conflict enhances their prestige and bargaining position.

From the 1930s to the present, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Iran have wrestled over the Palestinian file. Those states’ rationale for interfering in the domestic affairs of a foreign people is based on the presumption of a shared pan-Arab or pan-Islamic sensibility. But even assuming that all Arabs and Muslims really do care an awful lot about the Palestinians—though the status of Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab states and as the paltry financial aid provided by oil-producing Muslim states strongly suggest otherwise—the notion that U.S. policy should accommodate regional forces because they claim to share a common identity with Palestinians is dangerous.

A region-wide contest to represent the Palestinians not only sets regional powers against each other, but it also channels their often destructive energies against Western interlocutors, primarily the United States. Through 1973, the Saudis fought for their role with their weapon of choice: oil. The Islamic Republic of Iran and Syria’s Assad regime use terrorism, just as Gamal abd el-Nasser did when he ruled Egypt. Therefore, a key goal of American policy-making has been to de-link the Palestinian file from other regional issues and to have the Palestinians represented by one agent: themselves.

Gingrich’s vague formulation cuts directly against the grain of the U.S. regional strategy. If the Palestinians aren’t a nation, which is the Arab nation that American officials are supposed to deal with regarding the Palestinians? Or, more vaguely yet, who is the representative of the “Arab people”? Is Gingrich referring to that entity imagined by the ideologues of Arab nationalism, a single and unified Arab nation?

It should be clear to even the most casual observer of the Middle East that the Arabs are anything but unified. Iraq’s conflict between Sunnis and Shiites, as we now understand, was only the tip of the iceberg in a region where civil war is not an exception but the norm. The Bahraini and Syrian uprisings are effectively sectarian revolutions against the established, and repressive, orders. Even in Egypt, Muslim violence against the Coptic Christian community reveals the true sectarian nature of the region.

The theorists behind 20th-century Arab nationalism recognized the region’s sectarianism and tribalism—which is why they proposed an identity based not on sect or tribe but rather on shared attributes, like language. The inhabitants of the region, from Western North Africa to the Persian Gulf, all spoke some variation of Arabic, thus they were Arabs. Their particularities, whether ethnic (Kurdish, for instance) or sectarian (Christian, Shia, etc.) were insignificant in comparison to their Arab identity. According to ideologues like Sati’ al-Husri, they were Arabs whether they liked it or not.

Accordingly, Arab nationalism has been a coercive and repressive doctrine. Even though it was an idea intended to forestall the civil strife that arises from competing identities, in reality enforcing Arab nationalism has led to bloodshed throughout the Arabic-speaking Middle East. Under Saddam Hussein, Arab nationalism meant Sunni supremacism and the violent suppression of Kurds and Shiites. In Syria, the minority Alawite regime has used the doctrine to keep the Sunnis as well as the Kurds in line. In Lebanon, Hezbollah waves the banner of Arab nationalism in its fight against the Zionist entity, in order to intimidate and rule over other Lebanese sects. Violence and repression are key components of Arab nationalism, because as a totalitarian ideology like Communism and Nazism, it can brook no differences, no particularity.

Respecting that particularity is not only good for the inhabitants of the region but also for the interests of the United States and Israel. The United States has bilateral relations with other nation-states and political institutions like the Palestinian Authority. But this country is ill-equipped to deal with large amorphous bodies like the “Arab people” or, alternatively, the “Muslim world.”

The latter was the intended recipient of Obama’s Cairo speech in June 2009. Unfortunately, it seems not to have occurred to the president that the Muslim-majority Middle East comprises various Muslim sects often at odds, plus non-Muslims as well. By employing this particular fiction, the “Muslim world,” the Cairo speech happened to comport perfectly with the belief of Islamists who hold that non-Muslims and even Shiite Muslims are second-class subjects in the Sunni-majority Middle East, rather than individuals deserving of equal rights.

The “Arab people,” like the “Muslim world,” is an invention—and neither of them should hold much appeal for U.S. policy-makers. Given the nature of our own polity, Americans should take the lead promoting particular identities, even if some of them are formed more recently than others, like that of the Palestinians. This makes them no less worthy of the rights and respect due to other Middle Eastern identities, some of them ancient, like Egypt’s Christian community, or the region’s Jewish minority, which after being ruled by the Ottomans and other regional empires and powers, now enjoys its own state in Israel.

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David B. says:

I just found this link to many historical photographs from pre-state Palestine. In the second photograph :

http://www.israeldailypicture.com/2011/12/arabs-of-palestine-saw-themselves-as.html

there is an ” Arab demonstration, Jerusalem, 1919/1920. The banner on the left reads “We resist Jewish immigration”, the banner on the right reads “Palestine is part of Syria”. (Emphasis added) In the post-WWI Peace Settlement the League of Nations divided Syria and Palestine into French and British mandates. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, which pledged Britain’s support for a Jewish National Home in Palestine, was included in the British mandate for Palestine. “.
Very interesting.

This is a terrific article that emphasizes pragmatism as a way out of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The author’s sobriety and sense of relevancy makes me think of what Wittgenstein said of philosophy: a discipline that shows “the fly a way out of the bottle.”

Rachel Berghash

nadine says:

“From the 1930s to the present, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Iran have wrestled over the Palestinian file. Those states’ rationale for interfering in the domestic affairs of a foreign people is based on the presumption of a shared pan-Arab or pan-Islamic sensibility.”

There is a “shared pan-Arab or pan-Islamic sensibility”, all right. But it has nothing to do with caring for the Palestinians, as the treatment meted out to the Palestinians by their “brother” Arabs readily attests. The Arabs don’t care for the Palestinians one little bit. But they care deeply about destroying Israel. It was for this sole purpose that the Palestinians were created, the world’s first weaponized people.

Attila The Hun says:

The problem with the writer reasoning is that, there is already a Palestinians state called Jordan and the people who live in Jordan are Palestinians except The King who his grandfather was Saudi Arabian.
The region called Palestine includes Jordan, South Syria and Israel. The fact is that the current Middle Eastern map was drawn based on England and western interest based and on oil and not on natural boundaries,religion or ethnicity.
Until the region map is redrawn based on its natural divisions there is no solution to the Palestinians problem. U.S instead trying to keep artificial ME map as is she should encourage peaceful disaggregation of Iraq, Syria and any other muti-ethnic state. We like it or not Iraq will eventually split and when it does all the dominoes will fall and the region Map will change by force and chaos.

” If the Palestinians aren’t a nation, which is the Arab nation that American officials are supposed to deal with regarding the Palestinians? Or, more vaguely yet, who is the representative of the “Arab people”?”

Q: How do European states relate to Native Americans on their reservations?

A: They don’t have diplomatic relations with them. Diplomatic relations are handled through the U.S.

Similarly, the Palestinian Arabs can achieve self-determination via autonomy. That way they can avoid the messes and violent dreams. They can concentrate on simply living decent lives with their families and trading and visiting with their neighbors in the West Bank, in Gaza, in Israel, in Jordan, and beyond.

At the same time the West Bank and maybe Gaza should remain open for gradual Jewish resettlement. Most of it’s in San Remo and the Balfour Declaration: unlike the Jews, the Arabs couldn’t maintain the charge to preserve the civil and property rights of minorities in their midst. Some allowances have to be made because of that failing.

You forgot to mention another middle eastern nation state which was also invented: Israel. Add to that a well known North American one as well.

The basis of Israel is largely built on bronze age mythology borrowed from the bible.

It thus comes as small surprise that a return to a brandished bronze age mentality becomes just a banal common place component of everyday reality.

What Dave said- Israel is as “invented” as those other middle eastern countries, as is America.

This whole debate is terrifying for it’s hypocrisy and stupidity.

David B. says:

Israel is not invented.
Since 70 AD there has been a clear identity and drive towards Israel. And they actually made it happen. If it were not for the western colonial powers the Arabs still would not have any states. They were simply subjects of the Ottomans. And I doubt that without the oil we’d be talking the Beduin’s and date farmers.

Ian Campbell says:

Newt Gingrich perports to be a Christian. He is certainly no student of the Bible. He even goes so far as to contradict God Himself. In the Tanach, in the Book of Zechariah, it states that Ashkelon will be deserted. (Ashkelon was a Philistine city/state.) This prophecy was given in circa 520 B.C.E. Ashkelon was destroyed (deserted) by Saladin in 1191 C.E, some 1700 years later. The prophecy goes on to say that after this time period, God Himself will judge them (the Philistines), but those who remain will have a very high social status in Israel (The same status as leaders of 1000s in the Tanach). By the way, we know from biblical narratives that the Philistines inhabited Gaza before Abraham (Abram) arrived in Canaan. So the Philistines/Palistinians were in the region more than 500 years before the first Israelites appeared on the scene.

Mike P. says:

Mr. Smith’s article is insulting in its deception.

Most of the nations he enumerates that did not exist were, in fact, real nations occupied by the Ottomans.

Syria is an ancient nation. Same with Lebanon and Egypt. Saudi Arabia was never a nation, however, it was always home of the Arabs.

Israel was not invented, clearly, but re-established by its descendants in its proper place.

The issue with Palestinians is that there never was a Palestinian people or identity, unlike the other peoples enumerated.

The original term, is a double re-transliteration of “Philistine” who went extinct about 2,500 to 2,700 years ago, likely at the hands of the Assyrian or Baylonian invaders. The Philistines, themselves, were invaders of Greek origin, likely from Crete, who were called such because they invaded Israel’s coast between Gaza and Ashkelon about 3,000 years ago. Their stay was brief.

No people ever called themselves Palestinian (other than Jews from about 1900 to 1948) and then the Palestinian Arabs, mostly since about 1964, but more intensively since 1987.

Numerous Palestinian leaders, themselves, have attested to the fact that there is no such thing as Palestinian and that the only purpose behind the invention of the identity was to destroy Israel.

Form fits function.

This explains why Palestinians have consistently rejected all offers of a state ever made, whereas the Jews have always accepted any offer of a state ever made.

There are numerous other problems with the idea of a Palestinian nation. Palestinians in Gaza are really, for the most part, Egyptian, as evidenced by their style of Arabic, frequent al-Masri name, and affinity for Egyptian groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Arabs in the West Bank largely speak with a Syrian accent, largely reflective of the region most of them came from, in most cases fairly recently, as the Jews built opportunity.

The idea that Palestinians are invented in the same way as others is deceptive and inaccurate.

Mike P. says:

Mr. Smith’s article is deceptive.

Most of the nations he names that did not exist were, in fact, real nations occupied by the Ottomans.

Syria is an ancient nation. Same with Lebanon and Egypt. Saudi Arabia was never a nation, however, it was always home of the Arabs.

Israel was not invented, clearly, but re-established by its descendants in its proper place.

The issue with Palestinians is that there never was a Palestinian people or identity, unlike the other peoples enumerated.

The original term, is a double re-transliteration of “Philistine” who went extinct about 2,500 to 2,700 years ago, likely at the hands of the Assyrian or Baylonian invaders. The Philistines, themselves, were invaders of Greek origin, likely from Crete, who were called such because they invaded Israel’s coast between Gaza and Ashkelon about 3,000 years ago. Their stay was brief.

No people ever called themselves Palestinian (other than Jews from about 1900 to 1948) and then the Palestinian Arabs, mostly since about 1964, but more intensively since 1987.

Numerous Palestinian leaders, themselves, have attested to the fact that there is no such thing as Palestinian and that the only purpose behind the invention of the identity was to destroy Israel.

Form fits function.

This explains why Palestinians have consistently rejected all offers of a state ever made, whereas the Jews have always accepted any offer of a state ever made.

There are numerous other problems with the idea of a Palestinian nation. Palestinians in Gaza are really, for the most part, Egyptian, as evidenced by their style of Arabic, frequent al-Masri name, and affinity for Egyptian groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Arabs in the West Bank largely speak with a Syrian accent, largely reflective of the region most of them came from, in most cases fairly recently, as the Jews built opportunity.

The idea that Palestinians are invented in the same way as others is deceptive and inaccurate.

Isreal deserve strong country and strong friends to manage defense it self agains The bad guys who try to attack them
It’s the only democratic country in the region and as a Kurd we are proud to have them in our region .

Lame. Unlike any of the examples of “invention” given, the faux “Palestinian” identity was invented to replace Israel. This may not be understood by the usual peace processors in America, but it’s sinking in among Israelis after having paid a hefty price.

Bill Pearlman says:

And if this causes Hanan Ashrawis head to explode. That would be a bonus

larry payne says:

Most of the posts here appear to be lame attempts to justify the Jewish crimes against the Palestinians.

I have read numerous historical articles that reveal most Jews today descended from Khazars who originally were driven out of Russia and settled in Germany. If this is the case, how do Jews have any claim to Palestine?

David B. says:

Bill Pearlman,
whatya doin’ this xmas? Wanna come over for a cup of tea ?

David B. says:

LARRY PAYNE,
you mean Hitler got it all wrong ? Who did he gas then ? Who were these people ? Is this the worlds largest case of mistaken identity ?
Oy Vey.

Stephen Colbert says:

Merry Christmas everyone, and to all my Jewish friends–Happy Jesus’ birthday.

:)

Mr Smith is a self deluded fool and a neo-colonialist tool.

Bill Perlman you seem so consistently in your always reliably incendiary comments to be much enamored of some ugly explosion of one kind or another.

David B. says:

jules,
you mondoscheiss troll.

larry payne says:

David B.

As I understand it, the Khazars were Jews. I’m saying they had no history with Palestine.

As far as Hitler gassing Jews, this Catholic Bishop explains very logically why there were no gas chambers at the German work camps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6C9BuXe2RM

Mike P, I might further add that Mr. Smith’s deceptive polemic is complete utter unthinking rubbish. Your comments are well put. Thank you.

Beatrix says:

Palestine was the name the Romans gave Israel after she beat her in war. The Roman, Ottoman, and English Empires controlled the land until 1948.

At this time, the UN acknowledged the existence of two peoples on the land, Jews and Arabs, when she formed two nations. The Jews renamed their country Israel.

The Arabs went to war against the Israelis three times and lost. That’s why they’re occupied. When they negotiate a peace agreement with Israel, it will be the first time that a Palestinian nation has been established in the Mideast.

Jews have a written history that is thousands of years old. It is false to say that Palestine pre-dated Israel, or that the Holocaust didn’t happen; or that American Jews are somehow un-American because we also value our heritage. All that we have been, all that we are and all that we continue to be is part of our written history,

The Palestinians need to stop trying to change history, negotiate an overdue peace agreement, and establish a nation with an actual written history of its own.

David B. says:

WOW,
along with Jules , Tablet now hosts comments by holocaust denier Larry Payne. It MUST be xmas. So many presents.

David B, I did in nowhere make, express, or insinuate a denial of the Holocaust or make any reference to it (as has evidently escaped your ignorant attention) as it is not the topic currently under discussion here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Niwmrp3KO5o

David B. says:

Jules,
you are the kind of man who would have found something positive to say about Pol Pot. Your logic is so twisted.
Why do you keep posting this anti-Israel shit ? We all know it is out there. Like some Communist Political Officer you make sure the most vile shit is pasted all over this great website. You may well go down a treat at mondoscheiss with your obscenities but it hardly makes a constructive contribution here. It’s like having a 12 year old in the room who just discovered the word “fuck” and runs around repeating it where ever he can.
Do you seriously think anybody is impressed in any way? It’s like posting porn links on a feminist website. Get a life man. Jerk off, do what ever, just use your life time in a better way.

David B, you are a deeply sick and empty accusatory individual. You smear people at every desperate cheap turn when you you have no logical retort to challenges and questions put to you. I am and continuously stand as a conscientious Jew not a cardboard figure such as you are so evidently proud to be beating your bared chest like a livid zealot lunatic.

Shalom

David B. says:

at best you are a troll. and i am being very generous here. You are as nuanced as the violent ultra orthodox. your points and links are meaningless for those who live in Israel, as I do. The discussion you attempt to lead only has relevance in certain far left US circles. You have most likely never been to Israel, it is an insult to the complex reality here and Israeli’s at most role their eyes at such polemics and simplicity. Repeatedly quoting mondoscheiss is proof that you understand nothing. You practice mental masturbation of the most vain kind.

David you simple cannot deal with realities which is no problem of anyone’s but your own. You are burrowed deep inside in a cramped a dark cubby hole of pitiful petty minded ignorance and deep denials. This is an issue you have to face, calling me “a troll” won’t alleviate your numb indifference.

Ironic that you bring up violence and the orthodox because the orthodox made the news famously today:

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7cl3QwPSKLPN9HTqPckIl4GlIKnWo7ErJQGzcav9EVSP3mw31xdEOsioqKgTquYoQtvnMo6hBiuGuxrKD18%2b1wgCw4p1u9Z6LcS8g8xUi0W0%3d

David B. says:

Jules,
wiki definition of internet troll:
In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4] The noun troll may refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted”.

David B. says:

Jules,
here is your Palestinian twin the Palestinian Minister of Uncontrollable Rage :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIhayNe6BAU

David B. says:

That is an excellent troll you posted, Jules.

David B. says:

Jules,
That is an excellent troll you posted.

You make some excellent points on why fostering national identity over Arab ethnic identity may be more useful to U.S foreign policy.

However, you neglect to mention the power the Arab League and the OIC have. It is the Arab League that presents peace plans to Israel and the Arab League that is in Syria today.

David B. says:

It says a great deal about tolerant Tablet that Jules’s troll posts are not erased. I have seen many a troll post erased on Israel critical websites. The Jewish spirit invites debate and trolls. Hat’s off to that.

Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

For a fuller explication of national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious identities in the middle east, I suggest reading Bernard Lewis’ book “The Multiple Identities of the Middle East” (Barnes & Noble link here: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Multiple-Identities-of-the-Middle-East/Bernard-Lewis/e/9780805211184?itm=1&usri=multiple+identities+middle+east). I found the book to be a concise masterpiece which arguably is not politically correct but does appear to be historically and factually quite correct (law of nature – P.C.ness is inversely proportional to factual correctness).

BTW, conflating the Palestinians with the Philistines is a true hallmark of P.C. ignorance. For starters, the Palestinians are a Semitic people (and language) whereas extensive archeological and other evidence indicates that the Philistines were a seafaring people who came from Crete and elsewhere around what is today Greece. Indeed some seem to have originated in the Balkans. Some scholars contend that the term “Plishtim” (פלישתים – the term for the Philistines used in the Hebrew Bible) is derived from the the Hebrew root for invaders or to invade – PLSh (פלש)- as in Polshim (פולשים) or Liflosh (לפלוש).

The term “Palestine” originated with the Greeks who traded with the Philistines on the southern Mediterranean coast of Israel until they were wiped out and exiled by the Assyrians. The term first appears in writing in Herodotus who (I believe) lived and wrote his histories long after the Philistines were extinct.

In the aftermath of the Bar Kochba Judean revolt of 136 CE, the Romans renamed the region “Palestine” in order to erase the Jewish identity from Judea & Samaria after they massacred all the Jews in the region (Jewish communities persisted in the Galilee and the Golan). The use of the term persisted in Europe, not among the Arabs and was first adopted by the Arabs in the region in the 20th Century as a direct consequence of the British mandate.

hg
J’lem / Efrata

David B, it perhaps says even more still that you are intolerant.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

One is not aware of a single Jew who is not eager to achieve peace. Yet, peace has not been achieved since 1920, when the San Remo Conference determined the future of “Palestine­” – a territory, not a nationalit­y or a state, mind you – and the year on which the war-of-att­rition-thr­ough-terro­r against the Jewish community of Eretz Israel (Land of Israel) commenced, carried out by the Muslim-Ara­bs.

All efforts to engage both sides in a sustainabl­e peace process have failed, all of them, but the one that has never been tried: The applicatio­n of internatio­nal law, as is, to the Arab Israeli conflict.

The fundamenta­ls of the internatio­nal law as it is related to the conflict are as follows:

1) The San Remo Conference decisions, 1920

2) The League of Nations decisions, 1922

3) The United Nations Charter, Article 80, 1945

4) UN Security Council Resolution­, 242, 1967.

Shouldn’t people of good will, finally, demand that internatio­nal law be applied, as is, to this conflict so as to achieve either peace, or alternativ­ely and more realistica­lly, an accommodat­ion of peaceful coexistenc­e between Arab and Jew, between the Muslim-Ara­b ummah (nation) and medinat ha-leom (the nation-sta­te) of the Jewish people, Israel…?­?!!

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

P.S. It is of utmost importance to be specific about UN Security Council Resolution­, 242, which passed unanimousl­y and has been accepted by all relevant parties to the conflict:

a. 242 came about on the infrastruc­ture of the fundamenta­l resolution­s listed above, i.e. San Remo, League of Nations, and UN Charter.

b. 242 expects the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to retreat from “territori­es” of captured lands in 1967, but not from all or the territorie­s. And, not to any particular line, something that Israel has fulfilled some time ago.

c. 242 does not call for the setting up of an additional state between the River and the Sea.

d. 242 does not even make use of concepts such as “Palestini­ans” or a “Palestini­an state”.

In short, 242, in essence, expects all existing states in the region to be recognized by their neighborin­g states that continue to exist beyond “secure and recognized boundaries­”.

Why is it so difficult for the Muslim-Ara­bs to accept this, and why doesn’t the internatio­nal community stand by its own internatio­nal law in applying it to this conflict..­..??!!

P.P.S. Yes, the “preamble” that people keep referring to, forgeting the fact that it is applicable to the states of Jordan, Egypt and Syria that, until 1967, occupied illegally territory that had been designated to be “the national home for the Jewish people”, thugs the refusal by 242 to accept those conquests as legal.

ahmed says:

Well, first I would like to congratulate both the writer of this article and Mr Gingrich for outdoing each other at the racist insults – really, its terrific, I even felt my blood pressure rise a bit.

However, for my comment I would like to say: You could do a quick search on wikipedia and find that (as it was called) Palestina was around when both the Kingdom of Israel & Judah were around (the two Kingdoms who were administered by Jewish people at the time – and incidentally they did not get a long, got weak and were attacked separately by Assyria and Babylon due to their rivalries – and by the way, the inhabitants of the two failed Kingdoms were provided refuge by Persia, the Phoenicians and the Palestina’s – ah it’s truly wonder how time betrays its past). During the British occupation, it was named Palestinian Mandate – not Ottoman, Arab or Israel or Judah. Thus the name was lent from a previous name – i.e. Palestine.

In any case, the Americans are definitely the more recent invention, I hope you would agree. As, I would argue, are the Israelis – most of whom are European and not middle eastern in origin – even the debate set around the creation of an Israel took roots and originated from Europe, not the Jewish inhabitants of the area.

It is incredible how the creation of Israel has reflected Western interests in certain regions such a Africa (the Madagascar and Kenya proposals?) in the early 1900′s and in Russia / Japan in the 1920-1940′s. You know, Israel should have also been awarded Giza for building it, and maybe even expel hundreds of millions of Arabs (who, by the way, did not exist!) to make way for a couple million Jews whom aspire to have a homeland (maybe even rightly so) precisely because of what the Europeans did to them – all of those witch-hunts and extermination you put them through – heck I would kill to get out of that situation too!

Sorry, you were saying something about the brutality of Arab conflict, oh white man? Check your house first!

Philippe the Brit says:

arguablye the USA is a fictional state and should belong in the Britihs empire or at least within the commomnwealth and have our Queen as head of state.

Until civil war there was no real American identity.

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Useful Fiction

Newt Gingrich says the Palestinians are an “invented people.” They are, like many others in the Middle East. It’s a useful myth the U.S. must support.

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