Nations Formerly Part of the Ottoman Empire Are Not Nations (per Newt Gingrich)

Newt Gingrich gladdened the hearts of bigots all over blogtopia with these comments, made during an interview with The Jewish Channel (emphasis is mine):

“I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state,” Gingrich said in the interview. “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, who are historically part of the Arab community.”

He added, “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. I think it’s tragic.”

So there is no Palestinian people or national identity because historically Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire, and was not a state? If national identity is inconsistent with having been part of the Ottoman Empire, then there are no nations in most of the Middle East and North Africa, and in much of Asia and Europe:

The Ottoman Empire was the last of a series of Turkish Muslim empires. It spread from Asia minor beginning about 1300, eventually encompassing most of the Middle East, most of North Africa, and parts of Europe, including modern Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Rumania and Yugoslavia. In the Middle East, the Ottomans ruled Syria, Palestine, Egypt, parts of Arabia and Iraq. Only Persia (Iran) and the Eastern part of the Arabian peninsula remained free of Ottoman rule.  The empire reached around the Black sea and into the Caucasus in Central Asia, including Aremenia. The Ottoman armies reached as far as the gates of Vienna, where they were repulsed for a second time in 1683, the height of their expansion on land.

Here are some place names that most people today think are nations that used to be part of the Ottoman Empire:

  • Turkey
  • Greece
  • Macedonia
  • Bulgaria
  • Israel
  • Syria
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Tunisia
  • Libya

Notice that ISRAEL is on that list? Israel was just as much a part of the Ottoman Empire as Syria or Jordan or Egypt or any other of the now-countries that were formerly ruled by the Ottomans. And of course, the national territory that is now called “Israel” was part of the larger area called Palestine. So the distinction Gingrich and his ignorant idiot fans are making between Palestinians as a national identity and Israelis as a national identity is just what you would expect from ignorant idiots.

Normally, I prefer not to link to ignorant idiots, but in the case of these particular ignorant idiots, I want to give them maximum exposure. Needless to say, this is not an exhaustive list — just the ones whose comments on this story are linked at Memeorandum.


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