Now We’re Invented?

So I was watching the news on Friday (as I always do… remember, CNN is a social activity for Palestinians), and I heard Newt Gingrich say the following:

Newt on CNN: “I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state.”
Me at home: “OK…”
Newt on CNN: “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire.”
Me at home: “Uh oh.”
Newt on CNN: “And I think we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, who are historically part of the Arab community.”
Me at home: “Huh?”

Now, as a Palestinian, I’ve heard a lot of racist stuff about us.  I’ve heard Abba Eban say that Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”  I’ve heard Menachem Begin call us “beasts” and Ehud Barak call us “crocodiles.”  I’ve even heard Ariel Sharon say he would “kill as many Arabs as necessary.”

But now, we’re “invented”?  I’m still not sure what it means.  So, were we there before Israel? Were we not there?  Lies about us usually have some level of clarity.  But this one is just confusing.  I want to be mad.  I do.  But I just don’t know what to do.

Now, to be fair, Newt does have some company.  Golda Meir was the Prime Minister of Israel from 1969-1974 and she said a lot of stuff about us.  Most famously, she told the world, “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”  When addressing the Palestinian right of return to their homeland, she stated, “We shall not let this happen.”  She defiantly told us, “Arab sovereignty in Jerusalem just cannot be.” And to top it all of, she declared, “How can we return the occupied territories? There is no one to return them to.”

So I guess Newt Gingrich can claim some sort of camaraderie with Golda Meir.  But it’s nothing to be proud of.  She was more evil than Ann Coulter, Casey Anthony, Lady Macbeth, Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”…  combined.

Of course, Newt was just trying to cozy up to Jewish voters in America by telling them something he believed they wanted to hear.  But doesn’t he know that denying our existence is out of style?  Even the Israelis now acknowledge our existence.  Benjamin Netanyahu calls us a “demographic threat.”  See Newt, you can’t be a threat if you don’t exist!

But being “invented” might not be that bad.  People have invented things that were really good for people, like penicillin, the smoke detector, and seatbelts.  A lot of really cool stuff was invented too, like the Internet, the iPhone, and Twinkies.  But I listened to Newt’s tone when he spoke.  Somehow I don’t think he meant we were a “good” invention.  My suspicion is that he was lumping us in with the bad inventions, like the Snuggie, the Macarena, and Farmville.  I think he meant the world “invented” the Palestinians, just like it “invented,” say, Kim Kardashian.

In last night’s Republican debate, Newt staunchly defended his comments, saying that what he said was “factually accurate.”  But he didn’t stop there.  He said Palestinians were “terrorists,” and that we have hateful entries in our textbooks like, “if there are 13 Jews and 9 Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?”  The claim that that sort of stuff is in Palestinian textbooks is, of course, false and racist.  But in case he was wondering, the answer is 4.  We’re not a bunch of inhumane terrorists, but we’re not dumb either.

At any rate, we Palestinians have been around for a very long time.  Just ask Jesus.  But all this talk about inventions does remind me of another famous Israeli quote spoken by David Ben-Gurion, the chief “inventor” of Israel:

Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul, Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta, Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis, and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.

We were not “invented.”  But our struggle was… by the same people that deny it today.

About Amer Zahr 181 Articles
Amer Zahr is a Palestinian American comedian, writer, professor and speaker living in Dearborn, Michigan. He is also the editor of "The Civil Arab."


  1. This is one of the most offensive statements about the Palestinian people I have ever heard. Gingrich is the Gin-grinch, but instead of stealing Christmas, he’s trying to steal the identity of the Palestinians. I can’t stand that racist f*#k.

  2. The people of Palestine endured so much over the years: their lives, homes, lands, children, and the right to live in their own country shattered by the invasive evil force of Zionism. These stealth terrorists operate discreetly to abolish the history, religion and roots of the Palestinian people. They think in doing that they can justify their inhumane actions. They should know that by trying to deny the existence of the Palestinians, they are in fact reassuring to the world that they are a people whose rights were violated right down to the insane idea of “invented”. People with a long history and civilization cannot be merely referred to as “invented” and the lunatic that is insinuating this notion had already lost this argument. So Amer not to worry, they can fabricate lies and distort the truth all they want; they cannot change history and deny your existence for they have created a perpetual WILL to fight their existence on occupied territory. A territory taken by the killing of innocent men, women and children! They are no different than the monster Hitler that killed them once.
    These writings of yours should be compiled in a book ofshort stories because they are written in a way that captures all readers, including our youth.

  3. Entertaining and smart as always. I think you’re quote is from Moshe Dayan- another Israeli humanist, not Ben Gurion :) Check it out, and then remove this massage please :).

  4. Here’s a great one by Ben Gurion:

    “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”
    — David Ben Gurion, quoted on pp 91-2 of Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, which appears in Simha Flapan’s “Zionism and the Palestinians pp 141-2 citing a 1938 speech.

  5. The quote is taken from an address Dayan gave to Technion University students on March 19, 1969. A transcript of the speech appeared in Ha’aretz on April 4, 1969.

    In answer to a student’s question suggesting that Israel adopt a policy of punishing Arabs who commit crimes in the West Bank by deportation to Jordan, Dayan answers that he is vehemently opposed to this idea, insisting that the answer to the longstanding Arab-Israeli problem is to learn to live together with Arab neighbors. He goes on to say:

    We came to a region of land that was inhabited by Arabs, and we set up a Jewish state. In a considerable number of places, we purchased the land from Arabs and set up Jewish villages where there had once been Arab villages. You don’t even know the names [of the previous Arab villages] and I don’t blame you, because those geography books aren’t around anymore. Not only the books, the villages aren’t around. Nahalal was established in the place of Mahalul, and Gvat was established in the place of Jibta, Sarid in the place of Huneifis and Kfar Yehoshua in the place of Tel Shaman. There isn’t any place that was established in an area where there had not at one time been an Arab settlement.

  6. In America, anyone calling the Jews an invented nation would have immediately been labeled an anti-Semite and lose his job. How come racist (and anti-Semite) remarks such as this one made by the Newt does not cost the guy his job? Oh yes I forgot, abusing Palestinians is a national sport played by most presidential candidates in America.

  7. Newt Gingrich, the draft dodger, is an insult to the Republican Party, an insult to the citizens of America, certainly an insult to the well-regarded Tulane University (from which he received his doctoral degree in history) and is an insult to all history majors certainly an insult to history. He is an insult to the Jewish leadership and community for allowing presidential candidates make Israel first not America first

  8. Thanks for all the comments…

    The quote is correctly attributed to David Ben-Gurion, from a book called the Jewish Paradox, 1978.

    When Moshe Dayan uses it, he is actually quoting Ben-Gurion.

  9. Amer, this ridiculous man “Newt” is a waste of tax payers money. He is a bought and sold slave of israel. He rises and sets his Tiffany jeweled hand to the Highest bidder. I also want a word with any mother that would name a child “Newt” ffs??

    “Newt” is a recipe from a witches cauldron and there would be nothing good or wholesome that can come from this recipe.

    1cup Eye of Newt
    2 doses of adultery
    2cups of Isreali bullshit
    2tsp gullible citizenry
    Equals a load of crap running the White House (as usual)

  10. It all seems so fruitless.
    These vicious & inhumaine lies are broadcast on National TV, in newspapwers around the country, on republican debates and poisen the minds of ignorant people who don’t know any better!
    All we do is reply to one another, on the phone, in your webb site or on my blog.
    That means that the toxic lies go out to every 10 million people and result in only one reply.
    That seems so lop sided and so inadequat.
    You are the smartest Arab— so tell me—

  11. Look, the important thing to remember about Newt Gingrich is that he’s a complete monster.

    Like a vampire.

    And not one of your modern, nice guy “sparkly” vampires, either. I’m talking as played by Christopher Lee in “Horror of Dracula” or one of those other old Hammer Vampire movies. A blood-seeking predator in a parody of the human form, an abyss of evil in the shape of a man.

    Now, that doesn’t mean he can’t be elected President, but I just wanted to make the point.

    Anyway, this comment is licensed under the creative commons license, feel free to cut an paste it into any discussion about Newt Gingrich.

  12. Amer, thank you for pointing out that the quote is indeed Ben-Gurion’s, as found in “The Jewish Paradox” by Goldmann. I was not aware of this. There is quite some confusion here which need clarifying. There are actually two slightly different quotes. The quote which I cited is different in that it includes the claim that the land was purchased. Camera uses this quote to show that the quote without the “purchased” part is misquoted on purpose. The quote with “purchased” is the quote used by Said. Here it is again.

    We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here. In considerable areas of the country we bought lands from the Arabs. Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal arose in the place of Mahalul, Gevat — in the place of Jibta, Sarid — in the place of Haneifs and Kefar Yehoshua — in the place of Tell Shaman. There is no one place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.

    From an address given to Technion University students (19 March 1969), a transcription of which appeared in Ha’aretz (4 April 1969), quoted in The Question of Palestine (1980) by Edward Said, p.14

    The question to be asked is why Dayan would have changed the ben-Gurion quote in the address. I could not find the reason despite many searches online.

  13. I read this essay with a sense of sadness even though you tried to bring some humour to the piece. Unfortunately, I can’t see anything funny about such disparagement of any people.

    When I had heard that Newt Gingrich had made such a comment I realized that the US Republican Party had reached new depths of its long running group-based “dissociative personality” disorder; a disorder that is considered incurable.

    The fact that this buffoon of a Human being is now that party’s front-runner says a lot about the people who support it.

    Last month Cathrine Crier, a rather well informed legal expert, who has also been a district court judge gave a very interesting and rather impartial view of the state of US democracy. In the Q&A session the first person to question Ms. Crier was quite proud to compare her to Newt Gingrich. Needless to say, I nearly fell off my sofa…

    Ms. Crier had just finished giving a rather interesting and accurate lecture and this is the first thing that is said about her from a member of the Republican Women’s Club.

    This is the level of intelligence in the United States today that is supporting this ridiculous excuse for a political party. Though the Democrats are no better, at least they haven’t gotten this stupid… yet.

    It goes without saying that if Gingrich does become the Republican nominee for the presidency the only difference between he and Obama will be the fact that Gingrich is just a “war-criminal in waiting”. Both of these people are nothing but snake-oil salesman and either will just add another nail in the US coffin.

    As to the Palestinian peoples being “invented”, someone should try to explain to Newt that the Palestinians were actually “coalesced”. There were the original inhabitants of Palestine prior to the existence of the Ottoman Empire and then there were those that migrated there as a result of the empire. In the case of the original inhabitants, recent archeological discoveries are now suggesting that the ancient Phoenicians were the original peoples of the Palestine area, an ancestry that all Palestinians can be proud of.

    If anybody was invented it was the Jews as Shlomo Sand has demonstrated in his excellent treatise on the subject, “When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?” for which a lot more evidence is available than that which would support Gingrich’s pathetic comment(s)… and which is at best the ravings of racists…

    With all respect,
    Steve Naidamast
    Sr. Software Engineer/Military Historian

  14. Egad, it would be terrific to finally solve the riddle. Did ben-Gurion say it first and was quoted by Dayan or did Dayan say it? Note that Dayan’s quote is different, including the claim that the land had been purchased from the Palestinians, which would of course put a totally different twist on it. I have not had a chance to read “The Jewish Paradox” by Goldmann. If anyone has further information on the actual source of the quote and its original wording, please let me know.

  15. This is typical of Newt… and is just as evil-genius as usual. He spouts off something that is outrageous to one group (NOT in his voting base), and rallies another group (in his base). This get’s buzz going, and his name becomes more recognizable. THIS wins him some zombie voters who just look for recognizable names with “R” next to it. Zombie voters don’t really pay attention, but feel obligated to go vote anyway and stick to a party they’ve agreed with in the past.

    While I support your conviction, Newt wins by you simply putting his name out on the internet to help increase his buzz points. Evil genius.

  16. Heh heh, I think you’ll find that was a quote from Moshe Dayan, not from Ben Gurion. Ben Gurion was the guy who considered that many Palestinians would have genetic heritage from those Jewish inhabitants of the Judean hinterland who just stayed where they were as the Jewish-Roman war raged over the hill at the time of Jesus, Herod, et al. Then he conjectured that over the centuries most of them would have converted first to Christianity and then to Islam. But don’t think for a moment that this consideration would have endeared the Palestinians for him – as a devotee of the 20th century Zionist religion this consideration somehow disparaged them in his eyes! Maybe he was jealous of their genetic heritage?

  17. Oh, I just read the postings by Solovey Razboynik – did Ben Gurion and Dayan both make such similar statements to Technion University students on 19 March 1969? I doubt it. I think it was Dayan who made these statements and various authors have mistakenly attributed the quotes to David Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin, Moshe Dayan and others.

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