According to Newt Gingrich, Palestinians are an “invented” people. Talking with The Jewish Channel, the GOP front-runner questioned Palestinians right to statehood which drew ire from several Democrats and Palestinian officials.
“I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community… 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 I think it’s tragic.”
According to Business Week, Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, took issue with Gingrich’s comments. Levin, who is Jewish, released a statement saying:
Gingrich “is wrong to think his attempt to turn the Palestinians into a non-people with no claim to a state will appeal to his audience on the Jewish Channel… Gingrich offered no solutions –just a can of gasoline and a match.”
Several Palestinian officials also commented on Newt Gingrich’s statement on Palestinians. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told ABC:
“These are extremely trivial, demeaning and ridiculous remarks. Even the most extremist settlers of Israel wouldn’t talk in such a ridiculous way.”
Top Palestinian Liberation Organization official Hanan Ashrawi, added:
“This proves that in the hysterical atmosphere of American elections, people lose all touch with reality and make not just irresponsible and dangerous statements, but also very racist comments that betray not just their own ignorance but an unforgivable bias.”
Gingrich’s controversial statements come just hours before a big debate in Iowa. Gingrich currently leads the polls with 37% support. Tonight’s GOP debate will be the first since Gingrich took the lead in the polls. Mitt Romney is currently second in the polls with 22%. The fiver other GOP candidates have single digit support.
Do you think Newt Gingrich’s comments will hurt his campaign?