If Newt had really said what the headlines claimed: “Gingrich Calls Palestinians an ‘Invented’ People,” I would have shrugged and said, So what? Americans are an invented people too. So are British, Chinese, and every other national group. We’ve been teaching that in our college classrooms for twenty years or more as an obvious no-brainer.
But that’s not what Gingrich said. He said “We,” apparently meaning the United States, “have invented the Palestinian people.” Wrong! The Palestinians invented themselves, at least as early as the first Palestinian National Congress in 1919. So it’s the “we,” not the “invented,” that should get headlines and stir angry reactions.
Gingrich got another small piece of the truth right when he said that the Palestinians “are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab people.” the dream of one big pan-Arab nation was a powerful idea before World War I. But it died for all practical purposes after that war when Britain and France divvied up the Middle East between them and started creating new nations.