Newt Gingrich lauds ‘Jerusalem Day’ extremists

Newt Gingrich’s speech yesterday to the Republican Jewish Coalition was standard right-wing boilerplate intended to appeal to Republican Jewish donors and hardcore Christian Zionists. But notably and disturbingly, Gingrich lauded the throngs of Jews who danced through the streets of occupied Jerusalem earlier this month to celebrate what they call the “reunification” of Jerusalem.

Here’s Gingrich (my emphasis added):

It was on this Feast of Shavuot 44 years ago, in June of 1967, a mere six days after the Old City of Jerusalem had been reunited in the Six Day War, that for the first time in almost 2,000 years, Jewish people were once again able to visit the Western Wall and walk the streets of the Old City as citizens of a sovereign Jewish nation.

Hours before dawn that day, thousands upon thousands of Jews gathered at the Zion gate to await entry into the Old City.

At 4 a.m., the crowds were finally allowed to stream into east Jerusalem — the first time Jews had been allowed to carry out a pilgrimage to the Western Wall, as members of a Jewish nation, celebrating a Jewish festival — since the pilgrimages to the Temple 2,000 years earlier.

As the sun rose over the Old City, a total of more than 200,000 Jews made their way through the city streets to a site that today remains the heart of a people, a religion, and a nation.

Each year the Festival is celebrated in a similar fashion, by a pedestrian pilgrimage through the streets of Jerusalem to the Western Wall.

It is a pilgrimage of which generations of Jews could only dream, and signifies the unbroken connection between the identity of the Jewish people and the land of Israel that has existed not for mere decades, but for thousands of years.

During this last week, today’s generation of Jews made a similar pilgrimage through the streets of Jerusalem, knowing that the freedom that allows them to visit their holiest sites is more endangered at this moment in history than at any time since that Shavuot morning four and a half decades ago.

Leave aside the whitewashed talk about the 1967 war, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were made refugees. The most significant aspect of Gingrich’s speech is his wink and a nod to the Jerusalem Day revelers who marched through occupied Palestinian parts of the city and chanted, “Butcher the Arabs” while Israeli police protected them in early June. See these video above and here to see what the “pilgrimage through the streets of Jerusalem” was really about. Gingrich is lauding state-supported violence and racism directed against the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

The political reasons for the tacit support of the ethnic cleansing project in Jerusalem is clear. Right-wing Jewish donors–including Democratic Party donors–and Christian Zionists insist that Israel hold on to Jerusalem as the state’s eternal capital. The speech also allows Gingrich to shore up his Arabophobic and Islamophobic credentials as the Republican Party primary heats up. But let’s be clear: Gingrich is playing with real fire when he lauds those Israelis who openly incite for the killings of Arabs.

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist based in New York City, blogs on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia at alexbkane.wordpress.com, where this post originally appeared.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Posted in Israel Lobby | Tagged , , ,

{ 25 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Earth to Newt – they’re not voting for y ou, no matter how shamelessly you abase yourself on their behalf.

  2. Chu says:

    “Beam me up Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here.”

    That video is substantial evidence of the cult mentality.
    Witness Israelis and their children march through the streets
    chanting ‘death to Arabs’ is indicative of a sickness
    that permeates throughout their odd society. This is the KKK
    cloaked in white and blue.

    These people are trash and mentally ill…

    And Gingrich is finished, so there’s not much to worry about.
    and the same holds true for Weiner. Perhaps divine destiny
    will wipe away these corrupted leaders. I pray for it every day.

    • Theo says:

      Praying may effect you personally, (you feel just great), however it never helped another person. Not the thinkers, but the doers will change the world.

      • Chu says:

        Gee, thanks for the lesson. I will try not to
        indulge myself in the future, because only
        thinkers change the world. Are the billions
        of Muslims (and all other religions) that pray
        everyday also exhibiting self-indulgent
        behavior?

  3. lysias says:

    During this last week, today’s generation of Jews made a similar pilgrimage through the streets of Jerusalem, knowing that the freedom that allows them to visit their holiest sites is more endangered at this moment in history than at any time since that Shavuot morning four and a half decades ago.

    Wasn’t something like that the excuse given for the Orange Walks going through the most Catholic neighborhoods in Northern Ireland?

  4. mudder says:

    I hope someone with more technical savvy than me puts a spliced video on youtube of Gingrich’s speech, chants of Jerusalem Day ‘white shirts’, Netanyahu’s speech on Capitol Hill, and Lucas Koerner’s arrest. It would at once be both enlightening and sad.

  5. Jim Haygood says:

    ‘… the land of Israel that has existed not for mere decades, but for thousands of years.’

    Here is standard zionist obscurantism, seeking to draw a literal equation between the scriptural ‘Israel’ and the modern state founded sixty-odd years ago. Newt knows the difference, but some of the staunch believers among his listeners don’t. Gingrich converted to Catholicism in 2009, after spending his adult life as a Baptist. But his theology evidently remains hardball evangelical.

    Newt Gingrich took to the airwaves almost twenty-five years ago, seeking to put a human front on his reptilian, Darth Vader public image. Judging by the recent mass defection of his staff, nothing has changed. He’s an abrasive character, not so much smart as calculating.

    Shamelessly sucking up to militant zionists by regurgitating applause lines which they probably drafted for him (what would Gingrich know of the Feast of Shavuot?) isn’t going to change either his unelectability or his basic irrelevance. It’s pretty shocking, though, that the Republican Jewish Coalition hosts speakers which cheer on racist lynch mobs.

    • Don says:

      “Gingrich converted to Catholicism”

      No offense, Jim, but my mental health, always highly debatable to begin with, is not helped very much by this bit of information.

  6. No campaign is truly dead as long as it can make hay by pandering to the AIPAC crowd.

    Conversely, if you slight them too blatantly, it’s all over for you politically.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Gingrich’s goose is cooked. Well done. Stick a fork in it.

  8. Bumblebye says:

    Weren’t there rallies like this somewhere in Europe somewhere between 70 and 80 years ago? All the chants and songs and bellowing were solely about sticking it to the Arab population, what was there about “Jerusalem” Day? It clearly needs renaming. And newt is just a slimy little amphibian.

  9. Avi says:

    Leave aside the whitewashed talk about the 1967 war, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were made refugees.

    Or the fact that by all historical accounts — unless one reads Michael Oren’s historical revisionism — Israel initiated the war in 1967 and attacked Egypt.

    Even Israeli officials who participated in the war, later admitted that Israel initiated and launched the war.

    Either way, demography will tip the scales in favor of Palestinians, whether the likes of Gingrich like it or not.

    Except for MORE ethnic cleansing, Israel’s leadership has not a viable long term plan.

  10. Avi says:

    The video was taken in Jerusalem. But, the displays of ethnic supremacy can just as well apply to Umm Am-Fahem, a Palestinian city in Israel where Kahana supporters marched last year in provocation through the city, under the protection of the Israeli police.

    • Hostage says:

      But, the displays of ethnic supremacy can just as well apply to

      The Betar-staged paramilitary demonstration at the Western Wall on Tisha B’Av in 1929, complete with a rendition of the Zionist anthem Ha-Tikvah. That desecration led to huge counter-demonstrations. The Zionist and Muslim demonstrations were widely perceived as the triggers for the Arab rioting that broke out shortly thereafter. When Martin Buber and other members of Brith Shalom said as much, they were publicly attacked, like the modern-day members of the Goldstone Fact Finding Mission.

  11. Debonnaire says:

    Humpty Dumpty had a small fall. Who cares what he has to say?

  12. mudder says:

    I hope videos such as this make American Jewish parents think twice about sending their kids to attend ‘Jerusalem Day’. It’s a sorry spectacle.

  13. Not that I’m a great fan of Newt Gingrich but when I reread the portion of his speech highlighted here it seems to me that the Festival that he was referring to was not Jerusalem Day but Shavuot and he was not praising the crowds of rowdies who were going through the streets on Jerusalem Day but the crowds of non rowdies who found their way to the Wall on Shavuot.

    • eGuard says:

      No. Read the quote. Shavuot happened to be in the 1967 war (which Israel started), but the quote really is about that “reunification” thing.

      • In attempting to ascertain Newt Gingrich’s meaning, without interviewing him or his speechwriters, we have to consider those speechwriters and also their audience. In fact Jerusalem Day is not a widely recognized Festival. Very few Jews in America and very few Jews in the Republican Jewish Coalition were aware that Jerusalem Day had just passed or been celebrated in ugly style in the streets of Jerusalem. It is true that Shavuot is not a major holiday compared to Passover, but it is mentioned in the Torah many times and I believe that many more in Gingrich’s audience would know that it had just passed (compared to Jerusalem Day) and whereas the word Festival might refer to Jerusalem Day, it is more likely that the speechwriters were referring to Shavuot.

  14. yourstruly says:

    in his court statement (Real News) yesterday, bassem tamimi of nabi saleh

    a palestinian

    “I reject these laws and cannot accept their validity.”

    this, together with the the words of another palestinian

    during the ’82 us-backed settler entity israel’s siege of west beirut

    a makeshift burn center in a campus dorm

    upon our entering the room, a young palestinian, despite his almost total body second degree burns (face and neck spared) suffered during the israeli bombardment of w. beirut

    despite his not being quite himself on account of fever, infection, not to mention the shock of it all

    up to a few days ago his having been a healthy young man, and now, his being not long for this world

    to everyone’s surprise he gets out of bed and makes it to his feet –

    “got to get up and help my people”

    “wait, wait, wait, where are you going?”

    “got to get up, got to get up and help my people”

    but do bassem and the young man martyred in w. beirut twenty-nine years ago speak for all palestinians?

    can there be any doubt?

    • yourstruly says:

      they speak for all living beings

      as well as for all palestinians

      ok, but say that the palestinians’ dream of regaining their homeland is about to come true?

      impact & significance?

      checkmate!

  15. RE: “Newt Gingrich lauds ‘Jerusalem Day’ extremists” – Alex Kane

    A SOMEWHAT RELEVANT FACEBOOK GROUP
    Name: “No to Newt Gingrich!”
    Category: Common Interest – Politics
    Description: — Here’s a place to join others in emphatically rejecting this professional partisan, his regressive ideology, his (arguably) skewed moral compass — and ANY AND ALL designs on his possible future presidency of the United States of America. –
    LINK – link to facebook.com

  16. Cliff says:

    Bump, can’t ****ing believe I missed this video.

    DISGUSTING!

    In another thread, hophmi was telling us that there is widespread attacks on Jews in Europe by Muslims.

    He provided no evidence of course. He also said Jews don’t attack Muslims in Europe.

    The insinuation is that Jews are being persecuted in Europe.

    Look at this video and think of the power dynamic. The lack of basic decency in Israeli society. You even see several American Jews who cannot explain their hateful behavior during the event. They rather not answer the question.

    They hesitate because they are American and internally they are somewhat acknowledging the bullshit in what they are doing. They’re still too Zionist to care though.

    But that is the power dynamic at work over there.

    Over here, Muslims aren’t stomped on by Jews so I suspect they exercise their frustrations on Jews because they won’t have to deal with the systemic discrimination they’d normally endure.

    Essentially, over here and in Europe, Muslims and Jews are equals (more or less) and so disgruntled Muslims can be disgruntled. In Israel, Jews can be disgruntled and you won’t see Palestinians behaving this way toward Jews because they are subjugated and the force used in retaliation is too much for them (see: Gaza).

    The relationship is one of an abusive spouse (or just a very abusive bully) and the victim/battered wife.

    Here, that relationship is non-existent although Zionist Jews behave patronizingly (lecturing leftists on worse conflicts in Darfur or the coptics or the Hamas charter or blah blah blah).

    It’s the typical bourgeois attitude but nationalistic and racist. Pampered because the Establishment is with Israel for the long haul. That is the power dynamic.