McCain courts Israel ahead of Obama visit


U.S. Sen. John McCain gave a rare Israeli television interview on the eve of his Democratic rival’s visit to the region.

Channel 2 aired its interview Monday with McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, two days before the long-awaited stopover in Israel and the Palestinian Authority by U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

McCain, an Arizona senator, used the opportunity to rap the younger candidate’s inexperience in Middle East affairs and showcase his own longstanding devotion to the Jewish state.

“I have been to Israel many, many, many times. My first visit was with Sen. ‘Scoop’ Jackson years ago. I have visited the area,” McCain said. “I know the Middle East. I know the issues and the challenges, and I know that these are very difficult times for the State of Israel.”

But McCain was circumspect when asked about the possibility of Israel attacking Iranian nuclear sites, saying that diplomatic pressure on Tehran should be allowed to run its course.

“I would hope that would never happen,” he said. “I would hope that Israel would not feel that threatened, saying the U.S. and Europe could impose significant, very painful sanctions on Iran which I think could modify their behavior.

“But I have to look you in the eye and tell you that the United States of America can never allow a second Holocaust.”


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