While the GOP candidates continue to pursue Jewish support by stressing their commitment to Israel, new front-runner Newt Gingrich has staked out a position way to the right in a new interview with the Jewish Channel. "Remember there was no Palestine as a state," Gingrich says while discussing Israel's origins in the forties. "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." Gingrich calls the peace process "delusional" and says the Obama administration's Middle East policies are "favoring the terrorists."
"I see myself as in many ways being pretty close to Bibi Netanyahu in thinking about the dangers of the world. I believe in a tough-minded realism," Gingrich continues. "I think if someone says they wanna wipe you out, you should believe them. So I see a much more tougher-minded, and much more honest approach to the Middle East in a Gingrich administration."
The interview is casting doubt on Gingrich's potential support of a two-state solution, as both Republican and Democratic presidents have pursued. "What he’s saying is far to the right of the democratically elected Likud leadership of the State of Israel, not to mention established U.S. policy for decades," said the chief executive of the National Jewish Democratic Council. "This is as clear a demonstration as one needs that he’s not ready for prime time."
Also in response to Gingrich, a fellow for the American Task Force on Palestine questioned Gingrich's credentials as historian: "Arab and Jewish identities are very old, but Israeli and Palestinian nationalisms are both 20th-century phenomena, and arose at the same time in competition with each other. The idea that either is more 'invented' and hence less 'authentic' than the other is ignorant, a historical claptrap."