"What [history] does is, it gives you a really rich background to go to, to analyze things, to think about things, to put in context what you would do in a way that if you don't know history, you can't possibly reinvent it." (Newt Gingrich: historian? (Fact Checker biography), Josh Hicks, washingtonpost.com, 15/12/11)
So babbled one-time (h)academic historian and current Republican presidential wannabe Newt Gingrich on Iowa Public Radio earlier this year.
Gingrich donned the mantle of historian again this month when he pronounced that "we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places" (See my 12/12/11 post File Under: Israel Lobby? What Israel Lobby?)
But, sadly, that wasn't the end of the matter. In an exchange with rival Mitt Romney, he proceeded to dig an even deeper hole for himself:
"The fact is the Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on an historically false story. Somebody ought to have the courage to go all the way back to the 1921 League of Nations Mandate for a Jewish Homeland and point out the context in which Israel came into existence, and Palestine did not become a common term until after 1977. This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage, and we refuse to tell the truth while the other side lies, and you're not going to win in the long run if you're afraid to stand firm and stand for the truth." (abcnews.go.com, 10/12/11)
Given the prevailing ignorance of Palestinian history, which Gingrich is doing his best to improve on, and considering the dread prospect that he might actually succeed O'bomber as president, I thought it might be useful to scrutinise the man's utterances.
Starting with his earlier excavation about "invented Palestinians," while it is of course true that the Palestinian people are Arabs, along with the Lebanese, the Syrians, and the Jordanians, to venture no further afield, that does not, however, mean that they have "many [other] places" to go to, or should, in fact, go anywhere if they choose not to.
People are not chess pieces for the likes of Gingrich and his Zionist mates. One can only imagine, for example, what his response would be if anyone suddenly turned up on his doorstep in Georgia and handed him marching orders.
As a self-described historian, Gingrich of all people should know that folk generally don't take too kindly to other folk coming along and telling them it's time to move on. In fact, they tend to resist. As Israel's first prime minister David Ben-Gurion put it candidly in 1937: "Were I an Arab, I would rebel even more vigorously, bitterly and desperately against the immigration that will one day turn Palestine and all its residents over to Jewish rule." Or, as Netanyahu's spiritual godfather, Vladimir Jabotinsky, put it: "Colonization has its own explanation, integral and inescapable, and understood by every Jew and Arab with his wits about him. Colonization can have only one goal. For the Palestinian Arabs this goal is inadmissable... Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population." (See my 12/6/08 post Pemulwuy in Palestine.)
As for "the Palestinian claim to a right of return" being "historically false," what he seems to be saying, clarity not being his thing, of course, is that no one was using the term Palestine at the time of what he calls "the 1921 League of Nations Mandate for a Jewish Homeland."
Leaving to one side the fact that our erstwhile historian gets the date wrong, Britain's Palestine mandate coming into effect in 1923, Gingrich's fundamental deceit resides in his reference to it as "the League of Nations mandate for a Jewish Homeland." In fact, it bore no such title, its various monikers all containing the word Palestine: The British Mandate for Palestine, the Palestine Mandate, The British Mandate of Palestine and the Mandate for Palestine. And, surprise, surprise, for a document correctly referencing Palestine in its title, the 'P' word is found throughout the text.
Someone ought to have the courage, to borrow Gingrich's own words, to tell him to drop the pretense that he's still a historian - if he ever once was. On this issue, he's merely an echo chamber for Zionist talking points.