Posted by on December 07, 2011 in Blog

By Jamila Benkato

In a remarkable speech notable for its many, many historical and political references, Newt Gingrich told the RJC that he wanted to present a few “politically incorrect” but “factually accurate” statements. “I am very, very worried about our relationship with radical Islam,” Gingrich said, “because it is based on a pack of lies.” He elaborated by claiming that the State Department operates under a policy of appeasement and dishonesty. He railed against the removal of the word “Islam” from Justice Department terrorism training manuals – this, Gingrich said, “is an outrageous denial of truth.”

Gingrich continued by lambasting the “one-sided pressure that says it’s always Israel’s fault no matter how bad the other side is.” The RJC audience obliging responded with sustained applause.

“We have mortal enemies that are determined to kill us. We allowed them to set up a morally indefensible one-sided conversation.” Gingrich’s professorial tone certainly lends the air of credibility to his ahistorical claims. In this case, the conversation is, as he says, one-sided – but not in the direction he claims. In fact, this statement is a bit confused: who are these mortal enemies: Palestinians (the supposed benefactors of this one-sided conversation) or radical Islam, the traditional “mortal enemy” of the right wing?

Gingrich also railed against the “one-sided moral disarmament of the Judeo-Christian civilization in the face of people who arrogantly” support terrorism, while the State Department remains “incapable of articulating the cause of freedom.”  His plan, articulated to the RJC, would be to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem the day of his inauguration. Gingrich also announced that he is planning to ask John Bolton to serve as his Secretary of State.

On Iran, Gingrich declared that the only rational long-term policy would be regime replacement. “I would focus…on their gasoline supply,” he said, noting that most of Iran’s gasoline must be imported. “I would fund every dissident group in the country,” Gingrich claimed.

This was a dense speech, especially compared to earlier speeches from today. Gingrich’s new status as a possible frontrunner lends particular importance to the particular historical and political claims he made here today – they are certain to return in not only later GOP debates but, if he is fortunate, in the presidential debates this summer.

Video from C-SPAN available here

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