‘Invented’ Palestinians Can’t Be Quoted

Of course Newt Gingrich (you know, the “big thinker” in the Republican campaign) made a lot of news by declaring that the Palestinians are an “invented” people.

As As’ad AbuKhalill–aka Angry Arabpointed out, the New York Times ran a piece on this controversy on December 10 quoting exactly two sources: former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk and David A. Harris, chief executive of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

Times reporter Trip Gabriel also noted of Gingrich:

He described Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, as denying Israel’s right to exist.

“You have Abbas, who says in the United Nations, ‘We do not necessarily concede Israel’s right to exist,'” Mr. Gingrich said. “So you have to start with this question: ‘Who are you making peace with?'”

It would be rather unusual for Abbas to have said such a thing. I cannot find any evidence of it (a conclusion reached by others, too). A Reuters piece about Abbas’ UN speech noted that he “told the United Nations he had no intention of denying Israel’s right to exist, but said he did want to delegitimize the settler movement.”

So “invented” people aren’t given a chance to respond, and apparently words can be put in their mouths by history professor Republican candidates.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.