FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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 the last Republican debate, Newt  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.

Amer Zahr is an Arab-American stand-up comedian. He blogs at The Civil Arab


More articles by:

December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail