Businessman and presidential candidate Herman Cain appeared on Sean Hannity’s TV show Tuesday night, to do some clean-up duty after he seemed to accidentally acknowledge a potential right of return to Israel for Palestinian refugees, who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, or for their descendants. As Cain now admits, he simply did not know what the question was referring to — and he added, he has now learned that they were not expelled at all.
“A lot of people think you didn’t understand the right of return,” said Hannity.
“They are exactly right, Sean. Chris [Wallace] caught me off guard. I didn’t understand the right of return,” said Cain. “That came out of left field. And of all the questions that I anticipated him asking me, I didn’t even conceive of him asking me about the right of return. I now know what that is.
“The thing that you’re gonna learn about Herman Cain, if he doesn’t know something, he’s not going to try and fake it, or give an answer that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Funny thing, though: When Cain on Sunday had paused awkwardly during the questioning from Wallace, and then said that a right of return was “something that should be negotiated,” was that not trying to fake it and give an answer about something where he didn’t know what he was talking about?
Now that he has become well-versed on the subject, though, Cain did not hesitate to add to the conversation.
“Now, here’s the thing about that right of return that I have learned since Sunday,” he said. “It wasn’t that they were kicked out of Israel by the Jews. No — their Arab leaders asked him to leave, because they thought they were gonna annihilate what was left, and then they could go back.
“So yes, I still stick by my answer, it is the responsibility and the decision to be made by Israel.”
Cain’s latest bit of education is, however, a propaganda falsehood that has been thoroughly debunked in the last few decades. In fact, the mass displacement of Palestinians occurred thanks to an initial mixture of armed expulsions and even some massacres, plus many others fleeing the war zone, as documented by such politically disparate Israeli historians as Benny Morris on the right and Ilan Pappe on the left.