Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is courting the Republican Jewish vote with a series of statements showing his unwavering support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pro-Israel American conservatives. On Wednesday, he declared that he would appoint former U.N. ambassador — and outspoken über-hawk — John Bolton to be Secretary of State if elected president. In an interview released today, he struck out an even more extreme position by declaring Palestinians “an…invented people.”
He told The Jewish Channel:
We’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab community and they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel since the 1940s. It’s tragic.
Gingrich, much like former Senator Rick Santorum, is effectively denying the right of Palestinians to a state, a position that goes against the policy positions of the Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations.
With this assertion comes questions as to where Gingrich thinks the Palestinian — or “Arabs” as he refers to them — should go. Will residents of the West Bank gain full voting rights in a unified Israeli state? Will Israel allow them to stay as second-class citizens with limited voting and legal rights? Or is he in favor of forced deportation?
Gingrich isn’t the only GOP presidential candidate to stake out political ground which, if actually implemented as U.S. policy, would effectively end U.S. support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Rick Perry have all endorsed moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Michele Bachmann claims to “already have secured a donor who said they will personally pay for the ambassador’s home to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”