MOINES, Iowa – Earlier this week, Newt Gingrich told an Isreali TV station the
Palestinians are an "invented" people out to destroy Israel, a
statement that prompted significant disagreement between the candidates in this
weekend's GOP debate on whether it is better to exercise "truth" or
"prudence" in the Middle East.
asked about the comment, Gingrich was completely unapologetic for his
ought to have the courage to tell the truth," Gingrich insisted. "[The
Palestinian power groups Fatah and Hamas] are terrorists. They teach terrorism
in their schools. They have textbooks that say, 'If there are 13 Jews and 9 Jews
are killed, how many Jews are left?' We pay for those textbooks through our aid
money. It's fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and
say, 'Enough lying about the Middle East.'"
went on to say, "Is what I said factually correct? Yes. Is it historically
true? Yes. … The fact is, the Palestinian claim to a right of return is based
on a historically false story. Somebody ought to have the courage to go all the
way back to the 1921 League of Nations mandate for a Jewish homeland, point out
the context in which Israel came into existence, and 'Palestinian' did not
become a common term until after 1977. This is a propaganda war in which our
side refuses to engage. … You're not going to win in the long run if you're
afraid to stand firm and stand for the truth."
moderator George Stephanopoulos hinted that such bold words would "make
life more difficult for the Israelis."
would we know the difference?" Gingrich responded. "The Israelis are
getting rocketed every day. We're not making life more difficult. The Obama
administration's making life more difficult. … I feel quite confident an
amazing number of Israelis found it nice to have an American tell the truth
about the war they are in the middle of and the casualties they're taking and
the people who surround them who say, 'You do not have the right to exist, and
we want to destroy you.'"
of the other candidates on stage, however, suggested Gingrich overstepped
prudent foreign policy.
happen to agree with most of what the speaker said, except by going down and
saying the Palestinians are an 'invented' people," Romney asserted.
"That, I think, was a mistake on the speaker's part."
continued, "I think we're very wise to stand with our friends, Israel, and
not get out ahead of them. … Israel does not want us to make it more difficult
for them to sit down with the Palestinians. Ultimately, the Palestinians and the
Israelis are going to have to agree on how they're gonna settle differences
Paul took the criticism even further.
just stirring up trouble," Paul said of Gingrich's words. "And I
believe in a non-interventionist foreign policy. I don't think we should get in
the middle of these squabbles."
Santorum – who has been bluntly vocal about opposing Iran in the Middle East
and Islamic radicalism in the U.S. – stumbled through his response on stage,
but WND caught up with the candidate after the debate to clarify his position on
first priority of a candidate for president and president of the U.S. is to be
sided with the state of Israel," Santorum told WND, "and I would not
be making a statement of that nature that would clearly cause a stir in the
Middle East without first working with our allies to determine whether this was
something that was helpful or not.
not to say Gingrich is not factually correct," Santorum clarified,
"but there's a lot of factually correct things that may be, in fact,
counterproductive to inject into the dialogue.
would at least check with our allies to see whether they think that would be
helpful or not before I would launch into something like that," he
his continued defense, Gingrich asserted, "Sometimes it is helpful to have
a president of the United States with the courage to tell the truth, just as was
Ronald Reagan who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the
Soviet Union an 'evil empire' and who overruled his entire State Department in
order to say, 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.' Reagan believed the power of
truth restated the world and reframed the world. I am a Reaganite, I'm proud to
be a Reaganite. I will tell the truth, even if it's at the risk of causing some
confusion sometimes with the timid."
asked, Rick Perry dismissed the controversy.
think this is a minor issue that the media is blowing way out of
proportion," Perry said. "We have a president of the United States who
has put the most muddled foreign policy in place that is causing the problems in
the Middle East. … This president is the problem, not something that Newt