US presidential candidate: Israel has given up enough

Speaking in J'lem, Herman Cain suggests that Obama's Mideast policies are insane, calls on Israel not to make concessions to PA.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 28, 2011 13:22
3 minute read.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Daniel Acker)

Republican US presidential candidate Herman Cain advised Israel’s leadership on Sunday to not make any concessions at all to the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking at a press conference at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on a visit to the Holy Land, Cain criticized the policies of current US President Barack Obama and said that if elected president in 2012, he would do everything possible to repair the damage he said Obama had done to the US-Israel relationship.

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“This may get me in trouble but I do not care,” Cain said. “I think the Israeli people is more interested in peace than the Palestinians.

“Look at history, and the fact that you’re getting bombed on the southern border. It is clear to me that Israel is more interested in peace than those seeking to deny the peace process.”

Asked by The Jerusalem Post what he believed Israel should do to achieve peace with the Palestinians, the 65-year-old businessman turned candidate said he opposed dividing Jerusalem and Obama’s plan to base negotiations on the pre- 1967 armistice lines.

“My position is that Israel has given up enough,” he said. “A politician would not have given you that direct an answer. In terms of trying to facilitate peace, since Jimmy Carter was president your leaders have shown that they are interested in trying to achieve peace.”

Regarding Obama’s approach to the peace process, he quoted Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He said the US must do something different to expect a different result.

Cain came to Israel to attend the rallies organized by American broadcaster Glenn Beck and to visit the country for the first time. He toured Christian and Jewish holy sites and met with Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima), Likud MK Danny Danon, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman. He was expected to also speak with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Criticizing Obama’s handling of the Palestinian issue, Cain said the US could have used its influence around the world to prevent next month’s United Nations General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood from happening.

He expressed concern that the vote would “embolden Israel’s enemies.”

Asked about the fate of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, Cain said he was aware that many current and former senior US officials have called to release Pollard on humanitarian grounds. He said that as president, he would review Pollard’s case before making a decision, but based on the information he currently had, he would lean toward releasing Pollard.

When asked about the housing protest movement in Israel, Cain said history had proven that “moving to a welfare state is the wrong way to go.”

A lifelong Baptist, Cain said he had always wanted to come to Israel but he never got the chance during his long career in business. He said he found the visit to be inspirational. He was particularly amused to meet two African-American women from San Diego on a visit to the Church of the Beatitudes near the Sea of Galilee, who like himself are Conservative Republicans.

Polls show that Cain, 65, is running behind candidates with better name recognition such as Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. But he said his name recognition was improving and that he gets spontaneous applause whenever he tells audiences on the campaign trail that he has never held public office.

In his meeting with Barkat, they spoke about the transition they both made from business to politics. When Barkat told him that he lost the first time he ran for mayor of Jerusalem but won the second time, Cain responded that he too lost his first election (for Georgia senator in 2004).

“That means I am going to be elected president,” he joked.


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