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Newt Gingrich Needs a Biblical History Lesson on Palestine

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drakonyx Donating Member (191 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:12 PM
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Newt Gingrich Needs a Biblical History Lesson on Palestine
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich drew intense fire from the Palestinian Authority for declaring that the Palestinians are an "invented" people:

"I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state," Gingrich said in the interview. "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, who are historically part of the Arab community."

Gingrich likes to present himself as a scholar and a historian. He's got a Ph.D. from Tulane University and has actually taught history at the college level. In this light, his ignorance as a historian is almost as troubling as his lack of diplomacy as a politician.


Gingrich, who has taught history lessons to supposedly less enlightened students, apparently needs one himself. Here's a news flash for you Newt: The Palestinians did have a state before the Israelis (then more commonly known as Hebrews) ever arrived on the scene. All you have to do is check your Bible, a book that a man who converted to Catholicism after being a Baptist for most of his life should know pretty well.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:18 PM
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1. Someone should whisper to him that it was Palestine before it was Israel
so he'll stop embarrassing himself.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:31 PM
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5. And it was ancient Israel before it was Palestine
Such arguments are pointless and have nothing to do with the politics of the current situation or the foolishness and bigotry of Gingrich's statement.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Damn! I allowed myself to get caught up ij an Israel-Palestinian discussion
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. it was Canaan before it was Israel. Palestinians are the biblical Canaanites.
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COLGATE4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:29 PM
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11. You should read Igel's posting on the subject on DU today (below)
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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secondwind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:22 PM
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2. He is pandering to the Jews for their votes. Jews believe also that Palestinians are "not a people

and are just Arabs.
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DavidDvorkin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. "Jews"? Some Jews, no doubt, but not "Jews" or "the Jews".
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:25 PM
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3. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread, drakonyx.
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lumpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
4. When I was learning history there was a state called
Palestine and was referred to that state as Palestine. Newt is so full of himself that he believes all of us peasants are uneducated. He insults intelligence.
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JBoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. Newt's approach to historical research is based on 'making shit up'.
Avoids any chance of discovering evidence that makes him uncomfortable.
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Marnie Donating Member (706 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 04:59 PM
Response to Original message
9. Jews are Arabs also, too. and Arabs are Jews even.
They are both Semitic.
They are the world's longest running dysfunctional family, and they all they can to drag the rest of the world into their dysfunction.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:22 PM
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12. The Palestinians are mostly descended from the Jews of 2000 years ago
Not all the Jews got kicked out by the Romans -- and the ones that weren't turned into today's Palestinians, with a small amount of Arab admixture. That's what recent Y chromosome studies show.

In addition, the Jews who left or were expelled from ancient Israel were mainly men and typically married local women -- so although present-day Jews are close cousins of the Palestinians in the male line, they're from all over the place in the female line.

And even in the male line, not all Jews trace back to ancient Israel. About 5% of European-derived Jewish men have a Y chromosome of the "Q" type -- which is not found in the Middle East but occurs in Central Asia and is the dominant type among Native Americans.

So in a historical and genetic sense, the Palestinians are more "Jewish" than the Jews.

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