ABC's Amanpour Paints Gingrich as Extreme on Israel, Ignores Anti-Jew Incitement

On Sunday's Good Morning America, This Week host Christiane Amanpour portrayed Newt Gingrich as trying to appeal to a "narrow group" because the GOP presidential candidate characterized the Palestinians as "an invented people" being used to undermine the Jewish claim to Israel, and took exception with the former House Speaker because he pointed out that the Palestinian Authority incites hatred against Jews in its schools.

Even though Gingrich during Saturday's debate referred specifically to Fatah - which runs the West Bank - and the terrorist group Hamas - which runs the Gaza Strip - Amanpour complained that he was "saying that all Palestinians were terrorists."

After ABC's George Stephanopoulos brought up Gingrich's views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the This Week host:

 

I wanted to talk to you about another clash between Romney and Gingrich on a foreign policy interest. Pretty heated last night as well. It came up over these remarks that the Speaker had made on Friday where he called the Palestinians "an invented people."  Now, all the candidates at this stage are trying to emphasize their pro-Israel credentials, but Romney chose to go after Gingrich, saying he was actually making life more difficult for the Israelis with talk like this. He said,  basically called him a bomb thrower.

Amanpour portrayed Gingrich as being too extreme even for conservative Israelis to support:
 

But, yes, certainly, this comment about the Palestinians being an invented people, and then actually ratcheting up during the debate and seeming to cast all Palestinians as terrorists, is kind of out of step - in fact, very out of step - with the majority of Israelis, with the last several Israeli prime ministers, including the conservative, the right-wing Likud prime ministers, Netanyahu, Sharon, out of step with U.S. Presidents from George Bush to President Obama and beyond. And really not very helpful if it comes down to him being President and having to moderate or mediate in this extraordinary situation.


After claiming that the former House Speaker was trying to gain the favor of merely a "narrow group" with his comments on the Palestinians, she continued, and repeated her claim that Gingrich had called all Palestinian "terrorists." Amanpour:
 

He didn't back down. In fact, he doubled up, as you said. He actually took the whole Palestinian people - he was talking about rocket attacks into Israel, which is true, they come in from Gaza - but he then tried to expand that and, with a broad brush, basically saying that all Palestinians were terrorists. At least that's what it seemed like from his comments on the stage.
 

As to what Gingrich's actual words were during Saturday's debate, when moderator Stephanopoulos raised the issue, the former House Speaker responded:
 

Is what I said factually correct? Yes. Is it historically true? Yes. Are we in a situation where every day rockets are fired into Israel while the United States and the current administration tries to pressure the Israelis into a peace process. Hamas does not admit the right of Israel to exist and says publicly not a single Jew will remain. The Palestinian Authority ambassador to India said last month there is no difference between Fatah and Hamas, we both agree Israel has no right to exist.
 

Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth. These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textooks that say if there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left? We pay for those textbooks through our aid money. It's fundamentally about time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say: Enough lying about the Middle East.
 

But Gingrich is correct about the problem of incitement against Jews in the Palestinian territories. In the report, "Promoting Violence and Terror," Palestinian Media Watch documents the Palestinan Authority tendency to promote hatred for and violence against Jews in its institutions. The group has also looked at indoctrination of Palestinian children using school books. The Jerusalem Post article, "Israel Absent or Only Negative Influence in Palestinian Authority Textbooks," also details some of the anti-Jew indoctrination that is being taught to Palestinian children.

As for the views of the Palestinian public, a survey conducted by pollster Stanley Greenberg this past July, as recounted in the Jerusalem Post article, "6 in 10 Palestinians Reject 2-State Solution, Survey Finds," documents the substantial anti-Jew sentiment within the population. According to the Jerusalem Post:
 

Seventy-two percent backed denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem, 62 percent supported kidnapping IDF soldiers and holding them hostage, and 53 percent were in favor of teaching songs about hating Jews in Palestinian schools. When given a quote from the Hamas Charter about the need for battalions from the Arab and Islamic world to defeat the Jews, 80 percent agreed. Seventy-three percent agreed with a quote from the charter (and a hadith, or tradition ascribed to the prophet Muhammad) about the need to kill Jews hiding behind stones and trees.
 

And last April, a poll conducted by Hebrew University found that one-third of Palestinians approved of the massacre of a Jewish couple and their three children in the West Bank by two young Palestinian men.


Below is a complete transcript of the relevant segment from the Sunday, December 11, Good Morning America on ABC:

 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to go to Washington now with This Week's host Christiane Amanpour. ... I wanted to talk to you about another clash between Romney and Gingrich on a foreign policy interest. Pretty heated last night as well. It came up over these remarks that the Speaker had made on Friday where he called the Palestinians "an invented people."  Now, all the candidates at this stage are trying to emphasize their pro-Israel credentials, but Romney chose to go after Gingrich, saying he was actually making life more difficult for the Israelis with talk like this. He said,  basically called him a bomb thrower.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Indeed, George, and looking forward to talk to you more during the program later on. But, yes, certainly, this comment about the Palestinians being an invented people, and then actually ratcheting up during the debate and seeming to cast all Palestinians as terrorists, is kind of out of step - in fact, very out of step - with the majority of Israelis, with the last several Israeli prime ministers, including the conservative, the right-wing Likud prime ministers, Netanyahu, Sharon, out of step with U.S. Presidents from George Bush to President Obama and beyond.

And really not very helpful if it comes down him being President and having to moderate or mediate in this extraordinary situation. And historically inaccurate as well because, at least, in modern times, back to the 1800s, the Palestinians have been recognized as people. So it is a very narrow group that he apparently appeared to be trying to target, trying to appeal to, but it's not one that is being at all the basis of any negoti tions or conversations between the Israelis, Palestinians, the U.s., over the last, you know, at least 10 years.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he did not back down at all, Christiane. He said he was going to speak the truth. That's the way he put it, even after I presented him with those comments from the Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who said those kinds of comments are going to create bin Ladens, more bin Ladens throughout the Middle East.

AMANPOUR: Well, you're right. He didn't back down. In fact, he doubled up, as you said. He actually took the whole Palestinian people - he was talking about rocket attacks into Israel,

Which is true, they come in from Gaza - but he then tried to expand that and, with a broad brush, basically saying that all Palestinians were terrorists. At least that's what it seemed like from his comments on the stage.

Look, this is a very dicey and divisive issue. Senator Karl Levin said over the weekend, in response to his initial comments, that this was not offering solutions but was just adding gasoline and a match to an already very, very difficult situation. And, as I say, out of step with the majority of Israelis, the majority of American Jews, too.