Gingrich Vows Stronger Backing for Israel

GOP Frontrunner Vows To Set Conditions for Palestinian Aid

Newt Makes Push: GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich, shown here campaigning in South Carolina, continued his concerted effort to court Jewish voters.
getty images
Newt Makes Push: GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich, shown here campaigning in South Carolina, continued his concerted effort to court Jewish voters.

By Nathan Guttman

Published December 09, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Republican frontrunner Newt Gingrich continued his concerted effort to court Jewish voters Friday and repeated his promise to support Israel more strongly.

In a conference call with Jewish activists, organized by the National Council of Young Israel, Gingrich made clear Palestinians won’t have an easy time in Washington if he gets elected president. Gingrich said he would stop aid to the Palestinian Authority if it does not live up to the standards he will set, which include ending incitement against Israel.

READ THE FORWARD’S GROUNDBREAKING STORY ABOUT GINGRICH’S ALLIANCE WITH SHELDON ADELSON AND HIS LONG FRIENDSHIP WITH BENJAMIN NETANYAHU.

He also expressed his opposition to a demand that Israel freeze its settlement activity in order to enter negotiations with the Palestinians. Calling the peace process “absurd”, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives said that in the current setting, there is no reason for Israelis to slow down it settlement activity and give up on “maximizing their bargaining position.”

In an interview he taped earlier this week with The Jewish Channel — the video is embedded below — Gingrich went a step further and denied the existence of a Palestinian people. “I think we have had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs,” Gingrich said.

In his call with Jewish activists on Friday, the leading Republican candidate provided some insight into his thoughts about Israeli politicians. Not surprisingly, Gingrich’s favorite Israeli leader is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who he sees as a “personal friend” ever since they first met in the 1980’s, when Netanyahu served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. “I have a warm spot in my heart for Bibi,” Gingrich said, “I like him a great deal.”

As reported in the Forward this week, Gingrich and Netanyahu also share a common supporter - Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who is one of Gingrich’s top financial backers and the publisher of a pro-Netanyahu daily newspaper in Israel.

The former House Speaker did surprise his Jewish audience by praising some of Israel’s Labor Party leaders. David Ben-Gurion, according to Gingrich, is “Israel’s George Washington.” He also praised the late Yitzhak Rabin, who approached Gingrich back in 1994 and warned him of the looming threat from Iran’s nuclear program.

Gingrich, in his Friday conference call, repeated his commitment to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as soon as he takes office and explained that the reason former Republican president George W. Bush failed to live up to a similar commitment he made prior to the 2000 elections was the “State Department culture” that eroded his ability to make this move.

Asked for his opinion on Israel’s prisoner swap with Hamas in which about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were released from Israeli prison in return for captive soldier Gilad Shalit, Gingrich refused to second-guess the decision of the Israeli government. However, he said that since 30 of the Palestinians released were involved in terror attacks against U.S. citizens, he would instruct the CIA to “hunt” down those released terrorists.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com


Watch The Jewish Channel interview with Gingrich:


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.