Sen. Levin: Gingrich's Palestinian stance 'cynical,' 'destructive'

Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinThe Fed and a return to banking simplicity What Our presidential candidates can learn from Elmo Zumwalt Will there be a 50-50 Senate next year? MORE (D-Mich.) on Saturday dubbed Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s stance that the Palestinians are an “invented” people as “cynical” and “destructive.”

“[Newt] Gingrich is wrong to think his attempt to turn the Palestinians into a non-people with no claim to a state will appeal to his audience on The Jewish Channel,” Levin said in a statement, referring to an American cable network with which Gingrich spoke Friday.

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Levin hit the former House speaker for offering “no solutions” to the decades-old conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, the veteran senator charged, Gingrich only brings to the debate “a can of gasoline and a match.”

“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.”

Levin hit back Saturday, saying “the vast majority of American Jews — including this one — and the Israeli government ... are committed to a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side as neighbors and in peace.

“Gingrich’s cynical efforts to attract attention to himself with divisive and destructive statements will not help his presidential ambitions,” Levin said, “since they are aimed at putting the peace between Israel and the Palestinians that Americans yearn for even further out of reach than it is today.”