Building off former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s rejection of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, Josh Smilovitz at the Israel Policy Forum finds video from 2007 of Huckabee telling a Jewish gathering that those people who think of themselves as Palestinians are really suffering from a false national consciousness.
HUCKABEE: Basically, there really is no such thing as — I have to be careful in saying this, because people will really — but there’s no such thing as a Palestinian.
INTERLOCUTOR: No, that’s true.
HUCKABEE: There’s not.
INTERLOCUTOR #2: Finally, someone said it!
INTERLOCUTOR #2: Before 1948, there was all Arabs who were– you were — you were –
HUCKABEE: You had Arabs and Persians. And there’s such complexity within that. There is really no such thing. That has been a political tool to try to force land away from Israel. What my point is, if that’s the issue, if it’s real estate, if you look at a map, and say here is how much Israel has and here is how much the Arab states hold, there is plenty of land for them to have. Let them take it out of Egypt. Let’s take it out of Syria. Let’em take it out of Jordan. There are plenty of places for this to be. Without sacrificing the Golan Heights, which would be suicide. Suicide.
Do I have the heart to tell Huckabee that the Golan Heights have nothing to do with Palestinian territory? Ah, well, he actually goes on to say he’s been to the Golan and looked down at “Syrian bunkers,” but the conflation is still bizarre. Well, not actually bizarre if you believe that there are simply “Arabs and Persians” between Afghanistan and what’s now Israel and the “complexity” within those categories isn’t worth remarking upon. You would, alas, not be a particularly trustworthy person to consult on Middle Eastern affairs.
It’s amazing: here’s a major political figure, then a candidate for president, as he probably will be again, denying that the Palestinians exist as a nation. He then goes on to argue that Arabs are an undifferentiated mass, and if people care so much about Palestinian statehood, they should just take a chunk out of places that aren’t historic Palestine and give that to them. Hey, they’re all Arabs, so whatever!
If ever anyone started to make dubious historical arguments to deny the historical roots of Zionism — let alone that ludicrous historical assertions undermine the right of Israelis to live in their own state — as a plot against the Arabs, he would be run out of the political discourse. In this country, he gets a Fox News TV show and a shot at the GOP presidential nomination.
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