Some may be familiar by now with controversial remarks made to an obscure Jewish cable TV channel last week by current Republican frontrunner Newt Gringrich while desperately trolling for the wingnut evangelical vote in Iowa, declaring that Palestinians are “an invented people” – essentially, nothing but a deceitful, illegitimate fabrication of the pernicious “liberal media”… Or something along those lines.
As I understand the crux of Newt’s argument, it’s that “Palestine” never existed as an independent nation-state, but was only a vague regional sub-set of the Ottoman Empire populated by generic “Arabs” with no particular ties or rights to the land they happened to inhabit and reside in at the time the Ottoman hegemony collapsed after WWI and the area in question was carved up by Britain and France… Therefore, they have no legitimate standing as a distinct group of people.
Some Christian commenters sympathetic to the Zionist cause have further embellished Newt’s assertion by selectively mining the etymology of the word “Palestinian” to purport that this refers to “Land of the Philistines” (a derogative slur they claim was attributed to the region by the Roman Emperor Hadrian) and therefore, according to some convoluted logical leaps and bounds, as the current residents of the area are not ancient “Philistines” then they must ipso facto, ergo sum be “invented”… QED.
According to this same standard, I’m curious as to what other people may have been arbitrarily “invented”… Americans, for example. Or for that matter the “English” or the “French”… For goodness sake, at some point or other, isn’t just about anybody part of an “invented people” in some respect?