web analytics
August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Gingrich, Romney, And History’s Uncomfortable Truths

Gingrich-Romney-121611

Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives who has pulled ahead of Mitt Romney in recent polls in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, created a firestorm late last week with his comments about the Palestinians.

Palestinian leaders, and many liberal and left-wing commentators, were outraged that he would have the nerve to refer to Palestinians as an “invented people”; point out that, historically, there “was no Palestine as a state”; and suggest that these truths must inform any analysis of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and proposed solutions:

I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community. 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 1940s, and it’s tragic.

Mr. Gingrich’s chief rival for the nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, said that while he agreed with the substance of Mr. Gingrich’s remarks, they were not official Israeli policy and Mr. Gingrich should have checked with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as to whether Israel wanted him to go public with his observations.

A little context here would be helpful.

In his troubling 2009 Cairo speech soon after his election as president, Mr. Obama discussed the basis of Israel’s legitimacy. He posited the rationale for the Jewish state completely in terms of payback for centuries of Jewish suffering, culminating in the Holocaust: “The aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.”

He made no mention at all of any connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, or that the Middle East was the birthplace of Jewish civilization and that Jews struggled for millennia to return and reestablish themselves there.

However, when referring in the same speech to the Palestinians, he spoke exclusively in terms of their ostensible connection to the land and the interruptions caused by Israel:

….[I]t is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity of their own.

When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN General Assembly this past September, the Jewish connection to Israel was not part of the equation:

I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence.

And, of course, Iran’s Ahmadinejad and many other Muslim and Arab leaders and spokesmen maintain that Israel is an artificial political construct in the Middle East imposed by Western powers because of their guilt over the Holocaust.

So when Mr. Gingrich kicks over the diplomatic and historical façade that has long obscured the real history of the Middle East over the past century, when he makes the indisputable point that up until very recently there was no Palestinian nation or people, it creates a great deal of discomfort among Israel’s enemies, like Mr. Abbas, and even among Israel’s friends, like Mr. Romney.

Indeed, Mr. Romney’s response to Mr. Gingrich during the GOP debate in Iowa Saturday night that was even more fascinating. Here is how he responded to moderator George Stephanopoulos’s queries and follow-ups as to whether he takes “any issue with that characterization of the Palestinians as an invented people?”

I happen to agree with…most of what the speaker said except by going down and saying the Palestinians are an invented people. That I think was a mistake on the speaker’s part…. I think we’re very wise to stand with our friends Israel and not get out ahead of them. This president decided he was gonna try and negotiate for Israel by sayin’ “Let’s go back to the ’67 border.” That’s not what Israel wanted to hear. They – Israel does not want us to make it more difficult for them to sit down with the Palestinians. Ultimately, the Palestinians and the Israelis are gonna have to agree on how they’re gonna settle the differences between them…. If Bibi Netanyahu wants to say what you said, let him say it…. [B]efore I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, “Would it help if I said this? Would you like me to do it?

We find this a rather curious stance from someone who aspires to be president of the United States. Is he really describing how he would make policy? As a supplicant asking the leader of another country to vet his policy statements? While we believe the United States should try to be a helpful interlocutor between Israel and the Palestinians and not attempt to pressure Israel into doing things it does not consider prudent in terms of its security interests, the Romney formulation seems a bit much and unrealistic.

On the other hand, just because an American official – even a president – makes a declaration, it doesn’t mean it should necessarily be binding on Israel. To take the present controversy as an example, were a President Gingrich to speak of the Palestinians as candidate Gingrich just did, the Israeli prime minister should be free to either accept it or reject it. And there is the rub. The issue is not what was said, but whether Israel would be given the leeway to act according to its own lights. Mr. Romney seems to viscerally think otherwise despite his seemingly deferential comments.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Gingrich, Romney, And History’s Uncomfortable Truths”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
4 yr old Israeli Daniel Tregerman, murdered by Hamas rocket on Aug. 22, 2014.
IDF: Israeli Toddler Murdered by Rocket Fired Near UNRWA School/Shelter
Latest Indepth Stories
Charles Krauthammer

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

David_Grossman

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

488px-WielkaSynagoga3_Lodz

In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”

Netanyahu-Obama-030212

Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.

And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?

Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.

The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.

We were quite disappointed with many of the points the secretary-general offered in response.

Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.

His father asked him to read Psalms from the Book of Tehilim every day.

More Articles from Editorial Board

And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?

Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.

“Friends stand together in times of crisis,” said Gov. Cuomo.

Hamas has coupled its ideological intolerance of the existence of Israel with numerous terrorist attacks and rocket launchings.

Since nothing is static in warfare, the lesson is clear: Iron Dome must be continuously improved to stay ahead of developments in any rocket technology Hamas and Israel’s other enemies might get their hands on.

The IDF pounding continued and it again seemed only a matter of time before Hamas would be forced to accept the Egyptian proposal.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/gingrich-romney-and-historys-uncomfortable-truths/2011/12/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: