Saturday, December 10, 2011
An Invitation to Ethnic Cleansing
“Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places.” — Republican presidential candidate, serial adulterer and alleged intellectual Newt Gingrich in an interview with The Jewish Channel.
I wish I could say I was shocked by Gingrich's comments, which have received pretty wide coverage. But I've had many many arguments over the years with supporters of Israel who have said pretty much the same thing. Forget any logical response to this outrage, like does he therefore suggest Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Jordan are equally undeserving of statehood since they share a similar historical pedigree as Palestine? Nevermind his glossing over of the fact that whatever he chooses to call them the indigenous inhabitants of the land occupied by Israeli military force are currently violently besieged, suppressed, and deprived of their civil and human rights. Nevermind that not so long ago people of his political ilk were blaming the Jews for the evils of the world not fantasizing about the money they could earn by pantomiming prostration before the agenda of a foreign country's entirely questionable political policy.
What game are these politicians playing? Even George W. Bush, for crissake, paid lip-service to the idea that Palestinians deserved recognition of their personhood. The Republican presidential lineup have every last one of them (except far-right nutjob libertarian Ron Paul) been stumbling over each other to be the greatest supporter of Israeli Apartheid of all the rest. It's hard not to see it as a certain extension of the Republicans' formerly blatant anti-Semitism, this cartoonish courtship of a small country and a small American demographic which they imagine to require such outrageous genuflection. It's made even more odd by the fact that notwithstanding a little bit of rhetoric here or there, the Obama administration has proved itself a loyal lapdog of the rightwing Netanyahu government.
"And they had a chance to go many places." Absolutely chilling. Imagine for a moment he's talking about the Jews of prewar Europe, or the Tutsi of Rwanda. Newt Gingrich is an amoral sociopathic monster.
If you have a strong stomach here's a little reality check. Mustafa Tamimi was 28 years old; he attended a nonviolent protest in the occupied West Bank, protesting land seizures by so-called settlers. He was shot point blank in the face with a (US-made?) tear gas cannister. This is video of the aftermath of that shooting. Mondoweiss recounts, "The impact blew off half of Tamimi's face, and when his friends and family cried out in horror, Israeli soldiers laughed and said, "So?".