Map of Ottoman Empire in 1901Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker and current GOP candidate for president, is surging in the polls. Part of the reason is that he’s been cultivating the Religious Right, which largely ignores the fact that he’s been married three times, having cheated on two of his wives, including while he was trying to get Bill Clinton run out of the White House for having had an affair.* As part of his effort to build his reputation as a dutifully and devoutly Christian Rightist, the Newtster decided to court the Christian Zionist movement. Unfortunately, the way in which he chose to go about it, demonstrates conclusively that he’s a brazen ignoramus. CBS News reports on his idiotic spew (WebCite cached article):

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said this week that Palestinians are an “invented” people, a position that could be seen as putting him at odds with the U.S. push for a two-state solution in the Middle East.

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire,” Gingrich told the Jewish Channel, which posted portions of the interview online on Friday [cached]. “And I think that we’ve have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and are historically part of the Arab community, and they had the chance to go many places.”

Here’s video of this part of the interview, courtesy of the Jewish Channel and Youtube:

His criterion for what makes the Palestinian people “invented” and therefore ineligible to have their own state — i.e. that their land once had been part of the Ottoman Empire — is more than a bit strange. After all, many countries that exist now, and have existed for a very long time, were also once part of the Ottoman Empire. Most of the Balkan states, for example, had once been under the Ottoman regime. The same goes for countries like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Armenia and even Hungary … just to name a few. By the standards the Newtster has laid down, these nations are all “invented peoples,” and none are entitled to statehood.

In spite of his error, Gingrich is far too ideologically-driven (and too desperate to hold onto Christian Zionist primary voters) to admit his error. He maintains he’s factually correct, even though quite obviously he’s not (cached).

Yes folks, even though he’s a history professor, Newt Gingrich doesn’t actually know anything about history. I only have a B.A. in the field, yet I know how catastrophically wrong the man is. His lie about the Palestinian situation places him in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.

One last thing: During the interview, Newt says:

And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel since the 1940s.

I have no idea who this “we” is that the Newtster claims has been waging a “war against Israel” all that time. Is he referring to the US? Somehow I doubt it, but I can’t imagine who else that “we” could possibly be.

Photo credit: Eliel.

* The R.R.’s fondness for hypocrisy is well-known, but is strange, considering the founder of their own religion clearly, explicitly, plainly and specifically forbid his followers to be hypocritical, ever.

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