07/29/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McCain Plays Politics with Memory of Holocaust

In an interview with an Israeli TV station, John McCain turned respect for the memory of the Holocaust -- a core American value -- into a line of transparent act of political smear.

Speaking about the possibility of Iran attacking Israel, McCain told Israel's Channel 2 News:

I have to look you in the eye and tell you that the United States of America can never allow a second Holocaust. (link)

McCain's invocation of Holocaust memory was a clear presidential election tactic intended less for viewers of Israeli television than for American voters who, in the past 10 years, increasingly see respect for the memory of Jewish victims of the Nazis as a core American value.

The interview speaks to McCain's increased willingness to suggest not merely that the United States will be a defense partner of Israel in the unlikely event of an Iranian election, but also McCain's calculated effort to convince key segments of the electorate that an Obama presidency could lead to a second genocide of Jewish people.

McCain's statement was a clear attempt by the Republican candidate for president to prey on American voters' feelings about the memory of the Holocaust to undermine Barack Obama's upcoming trip to Israel. During that trip, Obama will inevitably make a public visit to Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust Memorial which is often the first stop for official visitors.

Even more sinister, however, McCain's statement amplifies a widely held propagated amongst key pockets of American Jewish voters by Republican smear teams that Barack Obama as President would bring about the violent destruction of the existence of the state of Israel and, by extension, expose Jewish people worldwide to the horrors of another genocide.

These smears have been spread through targeted print campaigns in U.S. Jewish newspapers and in email campaigns sent from anonymous servers. Every detail of these smear campaigns have been revealed as malicious falsehoods intended as anti-Obama propaganda.

McCain's statement signals a key decision by the Republican candidate to use memory of the Holocaust as a way to re-enforce in the minds of voters the lie that Obama represents a mortal threat to Israel and, by extension, Jews.

During World War II, over 6 million European Jews, and millions of gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and handicapped Germans were systematically put to death by the German government. From the mid 1970s to the present day, memory of those victims became a core American value via school curricula, museums, films, and public holidays.

The recent comment about by McCain suggests a Republican campaign plagued by ambiguous and contradictory attitudes toward the memory of the Holocaust.

Earlier in the 2008 campaign, John McCain was forced to reject the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee when it came to light that Hagee had given a sermon suggesting Jews deserved to be killed in the Holocaust because they did not move to Israel. Hagee later denied that his sermon carried any message potentially disrespectful of the memory of the Holocaust, but not before observers critiqued McCain's as willing to overlook Hagee's views of the Holocaust to gain inroads with Hagee's supporters.