Hussein Shobokshi
Asharq Alawsat (Opinion)
December 15, 2011 - 1:00am

The race to find US Republican Party presidential nominee has recently turned into a cheap circus, full of farce and ridicule. The candidates are bending over backwards to please the influential Christian neo-conservative trend, personal firearms manufacturers, anti-abortion groups, and of course the supporters of the state of Israel in all their forms, whether Jewish pressure lobbies or Zionist-Christian extremist blocs.

As is well known, these groups have considerable weight in forming US right-wing conservative opinion. They constitute nearly 8 million people, mainly concentrated in the southern states of America. Most of them are white Americans of European descent, enjoying high income levels and following the Baptist Protestant doctrine of the Christian faith. Of course, this denomination has firmly established ideological convictions that distinguish it from the rest of Christianity, with respect to relations with the Jews, the Promised Land and Israel.

Such people believe that Israel is the location where Jesus Christ, or the King of Kings, will return to fight the forces of evil in the battle of Armageddon, as the Book of Revelations details. According to their belief, this New Testament book must be interpreted within contemporary political projections. The most significant of such projections states the necessity of preserving the land of the Jews, because this is the place where Jesus Christ will descend amongst the Children of Israel. Hence, it is a Christian obligation to protect this land and the Jews living there.

If we understand this background, we can then try to understand the meaning of a recent statement made by Newt Gingrich, the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and former Speaker of the US House of Representatives. In an interview with the Jewish Channel, whilst addressing a presenter who was wearing the traditional Jewish yarmulke, Gingrich claimed that the Palestinians were an “invented” people, and that Israel was for the Jews alone.

Gingrich's statement is so extreme and crude that it can be considered more hypocritical and sycophantic than those issued by successive Israeli Prime Ministers over recent years. These Prime Ministers have at least negotiated with the Palestinians and explicitly recognized the latter's existence, and their right to have a state of their own (although of course the devil lies in the details, and what happens on the ground). Gingrich's latest statement reflects a personality which will stop at nothing to achieve its own ends, and this is further confirmed by his family and religious history. He criticizes major US government institutions, yet represents them at the same time before the public, in a glaring contradiction.

This kind of man could soon assume the most powerful political position in the world, amidst the erosion of honest political means, the ease of buying loyalty and votes, the lack of leaders with uncompromising positions, and the emergence of a type of politics which believes every stance has its price. These are the days of the amateurs, and the entire world will pay the price if matters continue to move in this direction. Newt Gingrich is not even fit to run a bath, let alone the most powerful country in the world. This is truly a sorry state of affairs.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017