Palestinians are painting GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as a racist after he called them an “invented” people.
One senior Palestinian negotiator, who has participated in talks with Israel and the U.S., Saeb Erakat, called Gingrich’s comment “the most racist statement I've ever seen."
“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire,” Gingrich said. “And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, who are historically part of the Arab community.
"And they had a chance to go many places and for a variety of political reasons, we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s,” the GOP candidate said. “I think it's tragic.”
The former House Speaker’s comments come amid furious jockeying by Republican candidates to court Jewish-American voters. The flap could put Gingrich in a tough spot Saturday evening during a debate among Republican White House hopefuls.
Erakat slammed the state of American politics, saying Gingrich’s remarks exemplify "how really despicable things can get,” according to the CNN report.
"Such thinking should be an alarm and concern for the world," Erakat said.
Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee member blasted Gingrich, saying he has "lost touch with reality."
Gingrich is guilty of “ignorance and bigotry,” Asrawi said, calling such remarks “a cheap way to win [the] pro-Israel vote,” according to the CNN report.