Newt Gingrich Image Credit: AFP

All too often in the world of politics there are events and statements that provide a glimpse into the thinking of politicians and those running for office. As a matter of fact, the manner in which issues are discussed in any given campaign is a reflection of the level of maturity of the candidates. The US presidential campaign stands as a case in point as the recent comments by leading Republican contender Newt Gingrich with regard to the Palestinians reflect his stupidity as much as his ignorance, more than anything else.

Gingrich had described the Palestinians as an "invented people" — a comment that he stood by even after his original statement sparked outrage in many quarters. "Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. We've had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. 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, and I think it's tragic," said Gingrich.

If Gingrich was trying to achieve any major political gain with such a statement, it can only be described as a foolish idea. Gaining the votes of the American Jewish community does not allow any candidate or politician to deny outright the rights of any given people.

If the Palestinian people are indeed "invented", then Gingrich should also accept the argument that the American people are, arguably, also "invented".

Ridiculing historical facts — especially at critical times — is dangerous. Perhaps it is best for Gingrich to educate himself before sparking a crisis on an international scale.