Gingrich and those invented Palestinians. (Fill in the blanks: Pot. Kettle. Black.)

23 Dec

I read another commentary this morning about Newt Gingrich’s assertion that the Palestinians are “an invented people.” Here’s his original quote:

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. 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, and they had the chance to go many places.”

It occurred to me that the issue might be framed differently if we make a few substitutions: “America/n” for “Palestine/ian”; “British” for “Ottoman”; “European” for “Arab.” That is, Americans are an invented people, maybe more so than most other nations. We just have the advantage of 235 years.

So my question for Mr. Gingrich is: how much time does it take for an “invention” to be legitimate? Or is it just a matter of who wins their independence? (We win = we’re not invented. You lose or haven’t won yet = you are invented.)

Please understand I’m not forgetting about all the many differences and problems in the Middle East, many of the Palestinians’ own making. Right now I’m thinking here only about the issue of legitimacy v. “inventedness.” If the Palestinians are merely “invented,” then so are Americans and probably most other nations.

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