Gingrich comments on Palestinians a “play” for “Jewish” money, former strategist says

Newt Gingrich, the US Republican presidential hopeful and former House Speaker who said Palestinians are an “invented people,” was making a “play” to attract “Jewish” money to his campaign, a former close associate said today.

Reacting to Gingrich’s comments on the Palestinians, Matt Towery, a conservative columnist who served as a campaign strategist for Gingrich in the 1980s, told CNN’s Saturday Morning News:

The Republican primary is one in which primarily you have money coming from pro-Israelis and in Jewish organizations and that[s] a play for that money. And you’re really are not going to have a whole lot of folks involved from either the Arab world or from any area that might be affected by these comments that are going to be voting in any of these primaries any time soon.

It is generally considered taboo in the United States and even evidence of “anti-Semitism” to talk about the influence of “Jewish” or pro-Israel money in elections. That a former Gingrich advisor and well-known Republican pundit is doing so openly is a notable development.

Palestinians an “invented people”

Gingrich caused consternation and a great deal of anger among Palestinians when he told The Jewish Channel, a cable TV station, that Palestinians were an “invented people” and suggested that they should have left their country voluntarily to make way for Israel.

While the two main parties in the United States, Democrats and Republicans, are both staunchly pro-Israel, they have engaged in intense partisan battles in the run up to next November’s US presidential election over which party would be more supportive of Israel.

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A bit more care is warranted with respect to comments like "[the Democrats and Republicans] have engaged in intense partisan battles ... over which party would be more supportive of Israel."

It seems to me that the Democrats do not claim to be MORE supportive of Israel than the Republicans, but merely AS supportive (if you are aware of evidence to the contrary, it would be nice if you linked to it). While there is not much difference from a pro-justice standpoint (since, as you say, both parties are staunchly pro-Israel), I do believe that it is important from a journalistic integrity standpoint.

In my view it would be more accurate to say something like: while the Republicans claim that they are more supportive of Israel than the Democrats, the Democrats argue that they are just as supportive of Israel as the Republicans.

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Umm, the National Jewish Democratic Council is a lobby group. They may be a pro-Democrats lobby group, but that does not make them the same thing as the Democratic party. If that's the best example you've got, I'm pretty sure it proves my point.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.