GOP presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich moved from outlandish to downright offensive last week when he declared the Palestinians are an “invented people” only capable of terrorism. “Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth. These people are terrorists,” he said. “It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, enough lying about the Middle East.”
Today on Fox and Friends, New York City’s former Mayor Rudy Giuliani exulted in Gingrich’s inflammatory remarks. “I jumped up out of my chair and cheered for Newt when he said what he said about Palestine,” Giuliani exclaimed. “Finally. Thank God. Someone is saying the right things about Palestine.” Taking Gingrich’s extremism a step further, Giuliani proclaimed that the creation of a Palestinian state would just create a “terrorist state” that “will be training people to come over here and blow us up”:
GIULIANI: I jumped up out of my chair and cheered for Newt when he said what he said about Palestine. Finally. Thank God. Someone is saying the right things about Palestine. Somebody has to question why are we creating a Palestinian state that’s going to be another terrorist state. Put Israel aside for a minute. Is it in the interest of the United States of America to create another state where they’re going to be training people to come over here and blow us up? Of course it isn’t. And somebody’s got to have the guts to stand and say that like Ronald Reagan said, “the Evil Empire.” Like Ronald Reagan said, “Tear down the wall.” We need somebody like that.
Giuliani may want to take another look at his hero. As Politico’s Ben Smith noted yesterday, Reagan was nowhere near the “no-daylight-with-Israel policy that leading Republicans advocate” today. in 1982, he called for a settlement freeze, stating that it “could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks.” He even complained about Israel’s participation in the war in Lebanon, saying “the relationship between our two countries is at stake.” In 1987, he called on Israelis to “step back from confrontation” regarding the violence in the West Bank, adding that their occupation “also damages the self-respect and world opinion of the Israeli people.”
As Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz noted, “If Obama treated Israel like Reagan did, he’d be impeached.” And yet, Republicans like Gingrich and Giuliani continue to insist that their regressive, prejudicial, and ignorance of the Palestinian people is a position Reagan — or anyone who believes in the peace process — would support.