HUCKABEE STAKES HIS CLAIM AS THE PRO-ISRAEL CANDIDATE…. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), whose unfamiliarity with foreign policy was widely derided during his first presidential campaign, is hoping to bring a little more credibility to his second presidential campaign.

This week, Huckabee’s in Israel with right-wing actor Jon Voight — Republicans hate Hollywood, except when they don’t — announcing his opposition to the Middle East peace process.

Potential 2012 U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Tuesday that if Palestinians want an independent state, they should seek it from Arabs — not Israel.

The evangelical minister and Fox News host said Jews should be allowed to settle anywhere throughout the biblical Land of Israel — an area that includes the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

He called the demand on Israel to give up land for peace an “unrealistic, unworkable and unreachable goal.”

It’s worth appreciating just how far from the mainstream Huckabee’s line really is. As Jon Chait noted, “Note that not even the Likud government opposes a Palestinian state in principle. If Huckabee sets the pace for defining what constitutes ‘pro-Israel’ in the 2012 GOP primary, we could be in for a race to the bottom.”

Quite right. We’ve gone from Republicans agreeing with the notion of a two-state solution to at least one presidential hopeful saying a two-state solution might work, just so long as one of the states is far away.

That said, the “race to the bottom” is likely to be an actual competition. Romney was in Israel last month; Huckabee is there now; Haley Barbour will be in Israel this weekend; and Sarah Palin is reportedly planning a trip as well.

I guess this is becoming another box to check off for presidential aspirants?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.