Bloomberg News

Gingrich Tells Jewish TV That Palestinians Are ‘Invented’ People

December 12, 2011

(For more campaign news, go to {ELECT <GO>})

Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Palestinians are an “invented” people and the peace process in the Middle East is “delusional.” Newt Gingrich, a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, said

The Obama administration has pursued a foreign policy of propping up “people who hate us” with an “even-handedness” that’s “favoring the terrorists,” Gingrich said in an interview with The Jewish Channel, a cable television network.

“I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community,” Gingrich said in the interview. “And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and I think it’s tragic.”

Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, issued a statement today saying Gingrich “is wrong to think his attempt to turn the Palestinians into a non-people with no claim to a state will appeal to his audience on the Jewish Channel.”

“Gingrich’s cynical efforts to attract attention to himself with divisive and destructive statements will not help his presidential ambitions,” Levin, who is Jewish, said. “Gingrich offered no solutions --just a can of gasoline and a match.”

The Republican presidential contenders are scheduled to debate in Iowa today. The debate, sponsored by ABC News and the Des Moines Register at Drake University in Des Moines, is the first to be held since the ascendancy of Gingrich in polls.

Gingrich, a former U.S. House speaker from Georgia, has emerged as the leading challenger to Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, with less than a month before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses start the party’s nomination contests.

The latest national daily Gallup tracking poll for the Republican presidential contenders shows Gingrich with 37 percent support compared with 22 percent for Romney. The poll, released yesterday, showed the five other Republican contenders with single digit support. The poll taken Dec. 1-5 is a 5-day rolling average of support among registered Republicans nationwide and was first released by Gallup on Dec. 6.

--With assistance from John McCormick in Iowa. Editors: Ann Hughey, Christian Thompson.

To contact the reporter on this story: Silla Brush in Washington at sbrush@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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