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Reply #58: Reaching deep into history isn't a good thing. [View All]

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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #18
58. Reaching deep into history isn't a good thing.
The "Germans" of today aren't the Germanae of Tacitus, nor are the Ukrainians the Rus'.

Genetics/ethnicity and culture are two entirely different things. Most British are largely Celts, but there's a big difference between those that Boadicea led and the Saxons in the Saxon kingdoms, the Brits under Henry VIII, and the modern British. We tend to know this to be true, then we turn around and tell somebody they should learn "their" language or "their" culture based entirely on their race or ethnicity.

Same with the French. Do you want to claim that people in Marseilles are actually Franks? No? Or perhaps because my ancestors are Gaelic they have some claim on Lithuanian land? No? I hear that kind of foolishness, too. Usually when there's some sort of political belief or claim to power and self-image that we think needs defending.

What Gingrish said about the Palestinians is largely true, in a few different ways. In the 1800s there was no real Palestinian ethnicity in any significant sense. There were regional features that criss-crossed or covered what's now considered "Palestinian", but usually extended far outside of this area (or covered only a small portion of the area). Mostly they were just Arabs--not just as identified by Westerners, but by themselves and their self-appointed spokesfolk. *This* was the distinction that was important, Arab vs Turk, Arab vs. European, Muslim vs. Christian; ethnogenesis, how ethnicities are produced, is all about distinctions and what's important in self-grouping and excluding others. There were people in Palestine but there were Palestinians only in the sense that there were people living in an area that could be called "Palestine".

Another poster says there's no American "ethnicity" (by which he mostly means "culture") and gets it wrong in pointing out sub-groupings in the US. There is a fairly distinctive American culture (not shared by all Americans, to be sure, but by most, still), but for him what mattered was the differences inside the US. Take a Minnesotan, Oregonian, Marylander, and Texan and put them all in China for a month and they'd discover their similarities. Suddenly US/Chinese (of whatever variety) would matter a lot more than the internal differences. In fact, until you're confronted with an "Other" there's not much point in worrying about the larger grouping. Early Americans--in the sense "American citizens"--considered themselves British or German. Only after there was an opposition did the differences become more important than the commonalities. (Then, in WWI and II, commonalities came to the fore again.)

One problem is grouping the "Palestinians" geographically (since most cultures are still rooted in areal features). This means putting borders on "Palestine." Is it the Ottoman or British or Roman definition? Perhaps the post-1948 or 1967 definition? It matters because that delimits the people that we tend to think of (externally) as having a shared set of values and traditions.

Some of the people had genes that had been in the area for millennia. Others were Circassians that the Ottomans deported in the 1800s when they were uppity. Some were the descendants of Arab migrants or invaders--migrants first noted a little "BCE", the real invasion force happening in the 7th century (with waves of Bedouin to follow, as they resettled into areas under what amounted to an Arab empire). More than a few are probably the descendants of Islamized Christianized Hellenized Jews, in deep denial over their ancestry. Their clan affiliation--an Arab import, to a large extent, based on older Arab clans--was paramount. "Palestinian" didn't matter--it wasn't the important distinction.

It mattered when more Jews settled in the area. Then there was an important distinction to be made. But even now there are not just more Palestinians in the diaspora than in Palestine (post-1967 borders), but in Jordan. Those in Jordan have, for the most part, their roots there--their families and clans didn't settle there after 1947, but before that. They share a common set of dialectal features and cultural values, have clan ties, etc., etc. But the "Palestinian people" was partly formed in contrast to the Jews that were settling in the area after 1890 and much more strongly formed in contrast to Israel after 1967. Even in the '70s in Jordan there was a strong contrast between the Arabian ruling group and the Palestinian substratum in the western part of the country.

The problem is that Gingrich's dictum is perceived not as dealing with ethnogenesis, or as even involving ethnogenesis, but as the denial of a political claim for land and power rooted in claims of being indigenous. If the Palestinian people aren't ancient--with some sort of lineal descent from millennia ago--then how can they justify dominant access not just to the land but to the "holy places" and cultural relicts? Since religion is part of culture, it only makes sense that I've heard claims that the original inhabitants were actually Muslim (not in the Muhammed sense, but close enough). That the Jews were never there; or were a small number that were driven out--so Jesus was a Muslim Palestinian. That the customs have been the same for the last few thousand years. Even that Aramaic is Arabic (that's a lark)--even as it's denied that some of the "hard words" in the Qur'aan are actually Aramaic borrowings? The claims are motivated by ethnic hatred and claims on land and power.

There's strong motivation to exaggerate the claims and strong motivation to react very forcefully when the weakness of the claims are threatened by even off-hand comments. After all, it's sometimes easier to win a battle by denying the enemy the chance to fight you than to actually engage in a battle, even if it's just a battle of wits.

The Palestinian people don't need their inflated, frequently ludicrous and embarrassing claims to justify a claim on land and self-determination. They also don't need people trying to justify those claims that are ludicrous and embarrassing.
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  -Gingrich calls Palestinians an "invented" people Bosonic  Dec-09-11 04:31 PM   #0 
  - It's funny, I always thought all countries were "invented" I mean it's not like America was around  DFab420   Dec-09-11 04:33 PM   #1 
  - sure it was, why else would Jesus be american?  ChairmanAgnostic   Dec-09-11 05:03 PM   #9 
  - As the late Repuke Senator Jesse Helms is reported to have said, "If English  coalition_unwilling   Dec-10-11 09:59 AM   #54 
  - America wasn't around in 1811?  Ter   Dec-09-11 06:15 PM   #17 
  - It's funny, I always thought all countries were "invented"  AlbertCat   Dec-09-11 09:15 PM   #35 
  - wait, didn't Gawd create 'Merika?  MH1   Dec-10-11 09:55 AM   #53 
  - no, I think he 'blissed' it, or sumtin. I dont know all da words  ChairmanAgnostic   Dec-10-11 10:28 AM   #59 
  - So at the core, you agree with Gingrich that they were invented  24601   Dec-11-11 08:57 AM   #73 
  - I was thinking we needed to do something to spark terrorist recruitment  BeyondGeography   Dec-09-11 04:35 PM   #2 
  - And this moron is supposed to be the intellectual of the Republican party?  6000eliot   Dec-09-11 04:43 PM   #3 
  - No, he is a "Historian"...  Pachamama   Dec-09-11 05:48 PM   #14 
  - Yes, he is a historian of sorts. I'm currently reading his book about George Washington,  Little Tich   Dec-09-11 08:32 PM   #32 
     - I cannot imagine anything by Newtie  Enthusiast   Dec-15-11 03:43 AM   #78 
  - Yes, he is.  RaleighNCDUer   Dec-09-11 05:49 PM   #15 
  - Aren't Republicans an 'invented people'...  YvonneCa   Dec-10-11 02:04 PM   #65 
  - Newty's mind is a self-inflicted invention.  Dont call me Shirley   Dec-09-11 04:47 PM   #4 
  - Newt is the smart one, funny stuff.  sarcasmo   Dec-09-11 04:47 PM   #5 
  - As opposed to the completely uninvented nation of Israel?  tularetom   Dec-09-11 04:50 PM   #6 
  - Rocktivity calls Gingrich a "self-invented" person  rocktivity   Dec-09-11 05:00 PM   #7 
  - Gingrich denies the Palestinians' right to exist  cpwm17   Dec-09-11 05:01 PM   #8 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   Dec-09-11 05:12 PM   #10 
  - and Americans are an ancient, naturally existing people?  provis99   Dec-09-11 05:13 PM   #11 
  - Just in time for x-mas  windowpilot   Dec-09-11 05:14 PM   #12 
  - OT, but- Republicans are an "invented" people who want to destroy America.  Gregorian   Dec-09-11 05:20 PM   #13 
  - Get it here, folks... Step right up.  Turbineguy   Dec-09-11 06:08 PM   #16 
  - Gawd, what an idiot. Lincoln must be spinning in his grave  EFerrari   Dec-10-11 01:07 AM   #45 
  - 5th century bc was the first designation of use of Palestine but...  madrchsod   Dec-09-11 06:31 PM   #18 
  - Reaching deep into history isn't a good thing.  Igel   Dec-10-11 10:28 AM   #58 
     - Hogwash. The Palestinians are no more an 'invented' people than the Israelis,  coalition_unwilling   Dec-10-11 10:52 AM   #61 
  - Aren't Palestinians originally fro the area now called Syria?  Archae   Dec-09-11 06:40 PM   #19 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   Dec-09-11 09:59 PM   #36 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   Dec-09-11 10:04 PM   #37 
  - Hunh? I don't even know where to start. - n/t  coalition_unwilling   Dec-10-11 10:03 AM   #55 
  - No. Try researching actual history, not religious myths.  Zhade   Dec-10-11 03:01 PM   #66 
  - So does that mean native Americans are invented too?  FreeBillClinton   Dec-09-11 06:53 PM   #20 
  - And we aren't? Hell, IMO there is no such thing as an "American" ethnicity.  Odin2005   Dec-09-11 07:03 PM   #21 
  - Uh, wasn't Israel invented in 1948?  FarLeftFist   Dec-09-11 07:04 PM   #22 
  - Yes. In fact, its 'invention' cost the Palestinians their land.  PSPS   Dec-09-11 07:17 PM   #24 
  - The Europeans were drawing the maps  DissedByBush   Dec-09-11 10:15 PM   #38 
  - Winning lands by military conquest  cpwm17   Dec-09-11 11:06 PM   #40 
     - Not by conquest  DissedByBush   Dec-09-11 11:39 PM   #42 
        - The Arab armies didn't start the war  cpwm17   Dec-10-11 05:49 AM   #47 
        - No - the Arab countries invaded first  hack89   Dec-10-11 07:54 AM   #49 
           - PAGING NEWT . . . WE HAVE ONE HERE FOR YA!  The Stranger   Dec-14-11 11:24 AM   #77 
        - Are you denying that Israel forcibly expelled many indigenous  coalition_unwilling   Dec-10-11 10:12 AM   #56 
           - So do you support the return of all refugees?  DissedByBush   Dec-10-11 11:59 AM   #63 
              - I support a theoretical 'right of return' to be secured by a  coalition_unwilling   Dec-10-11 12:56 PM   #64 
                 - Great idea  DissedByBush   Dec-10-11 10:00 PM   #70 
                    - Wow, what is it with the set-ups, drive bys and 'gotcha' moments here lately? The 'right  coalition_unwilling   Dec-10-11 10:55 PM   #71 
                       - It's a test for bias, you failed n/t  DissedByBush   Dec-11-11 09:35 PM   #74 
                          - Oh well, you failed my test for decency and are now on  coalition_unwilling   Dec-11-11 11:40 PM   #75 
  - Jordon owned the West Bank from 48 to 67  hack89   Dec-10-11 07:55 AM   #50 
  - exactly  shanti   Dec-09-11 07:20 PM   #25 
  - Right! nt  SammyWinstonJack   Dec-09-11 07:59 PM   #28 
  - History didn't begin in 1948  Crabby Appleton   Dec-10-11 10:24 AM   #57 
     - If you have not already done so, I heartily recommend you read Joseph  coalition_unwilling   Dec-10-11 10:41 AM   #60 
  - Evil,hateful politicians seeking the approval of Israel.  classysassy   Dec-09-11 07:12 PM   #23 
  - now wouldn't he make a great representative for America on the world stage?  Douglas Carpenter   Dec-09-11 07:40 PM   #26 
  - Scratches head? huh?  pam4water   Dec-09-11 07:52 PM   #27 
  - Did he really say that?  ThoughtCriminal   Dec-09-11 08:05 PM   #29 
  - Freak. nt  onehandle   Dec-09-11 08:08 PM   #30 
  - Technically the name, yes... in the 5th century BCE by Greeks.  DRoseDARs   Dec-09-11 08:30 PM   #31 
  - '...Palestinians are an "invented" people...'  unkachuck   Dec-09-11 08:52 PM   #33 
  - Say what you want, but he's making waves and in the news...  scentopine   Dec-09-11 09:03 PM   #34 
  - I think that many Democrats are silent about him because they want to sit back  totodeinhere   Dec-10-11 07:24 AM   #48 
     - The problem is the lizard boy gains credibility and democrats move more to the right...  scentopine   Dec-10-11 09:14 AM   #52 
  - Newt Gingrich is an "invented" person. No real person could be that stupid.  yellowcanine   Dec-09-11 10:20 PM   #39 
  - Well...WTF?  SoapBox   Dec-09-11 11:10 PM   #41 
  - moron never looked at a map  StarsInHerHair   Dec-10-11 12:08 AM   #43 
  - rv calls newt half a man  roguevalley   Dec-10-11 01:06 AM   #44 
  - As a self-identified human being, I find that incredibly offensive. nt  DCKit   Dec-10-11 04:36 AM   #46 
  - Newt is a shit stain. eom.  Hotler   Dec-10-11 08:42 AM   #51 
  - Safe to assume Newt has a final solution in mind for the Palestinians,  plumbob   Dec-10-11 11:34 AM   #62 
  - Keep Up The Good Work, Newt. Jeez, How Lucky Can Dems Get? (n/t)  Paladin   Dec-10-11 03:16 PM   #67 
  - name the US pol who got in trouble for supporting Israel too extremely  yurbud   Dec-10-11 05:15 PM   #68 
  - There's something ironically satisfying in his statement.  closeupready   Dec-10-11 06:20 PM   #69 
  - Palestinians == Philistines from the Bible  populistleftist1   Dec-11-11 03:49 AM   #72 
  - So are the Israelis an "invented people" as well  ElMuertoMonkey   Dec-12-11 05:25 PM   #76 

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