Newt Gingrich has told a Jewish TV station that the Palestinians are an ‘invented’ people who are ‘in fact’ Arabs. His comments, seen as part of an attempt to gain Jewish support for his presidential bid, are likely to be controversial in some quarters.
Gingrich, who can’t be accused of not knowing the history of the conflict (unlike some other candidates), pointed out that Palestine was once part of the Ottoman Empire. But his claims about the Palestinians being ‘invented’ seem odd considering that all groups of people are to some extent invented and, invented or not, many people believe Palestinians have a right to self-determination and their own free state.
Gingrich has risen to the head of the Republican presidential race and looks set to be the primary challenger to Mitt Romney in the upcoming caucus season, with Ron Paul possibly becoming a third option if (as expected) he performs well in Iowa. Some critics warn, however, that Gingrich’s popularity within the Republican party is inversely proportional to his popularity within the United States as a whole.