Newt Gingrich right on Palestinians as invented people, says Hoover’s Daniel Pipes

Newt Gingrich made waves last week when he referred to the Palestinians as an “invented” people, and while not everyone is jumping to his rescue, at least one think tanker is.


Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has come under fire for saying that Palestinians are an “invented” people. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

“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,” said Newt Gingrich in an interview with the Jewish Channel.

The remarks drew broad criticism from the left and the right. However, the Hoover Institution’s Daniel Pipes insists Gingrich was right in what he said.

Everyone from the PLO to a Mitt Romney spokesman jumped on Gingrich for this assertion, but he happens to be absolutely correct: No Arabic-speaking Muslims identified themselves as “Palestinian” until 1920, when, in rapid order, this appellation and identity was adopted by the Muslim Arabs living in the British mandate of Palestine.

Pipes cites two of his own articles to bolster his argument.

Gingrich reiterated his position during Saturday’s GOP presidential debate.

“Is what I said factually correct? Yes. Is it historically true? Yes,” Gingrich said. “We are in a situation where every day, rockets are fired into Israel while the United States – the current administration – tries to pressure the Israelis into a peace process.”

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He blogs and hosts a podcast at governmentality.net and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.

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