Ira Hansen speaks

Assemblymember Ira Hansen said he has changed his mind about Israel.

“I just came back from an almost two-week tour of Israel as the guest of John Farahi,” he told KRNV's Terri Hendry in an interview. “He took my wife and I on a tour, and I was wrong, OK? I want to make that clear. I was completely wrong on what I was saying about the nation of Israel.”

In his Sparks Tribune column, which he wrote from 1994 to 2010, Hansen wrote regular, often vituperative, denunciations of Israel, excerpts from some of which can be read at our Newsview blog, Hansen did not say whether he felt any responsibility to take action to ameliorate the effect of those 16 years of columns now.

Hansen also responded in the Hendry interview to the disclosure of numerous columns denouncing gays in often lurid terms.

“So that everybody understands, I have a gay brother, okay?” he said. “He's my baby brother, and I love my brother completely. He's actually married to his partner. Those are the kind of things that people don't know.”

However, according to his own writings, being close to an individual who is gay doesn't necessarily soften his feelings toward gays generally. He wrote at least three columns about a boyhood gay friend. When the friend died of AIDS, the resulting column became notorious among local gays: “Nature has checks and balances built into it; cross those lines, and you will pay a price.”

Hansen, briefly slated to be Nevada Assembly speaker, also repeated his charge that the disclosure of his writings was part of an “orchestrated attack” to undercut his influence. “I've been in here for two full terms and the stuff existed previously. They were only brought up when I started to go into leadership. … [It's] an attempt to eliminate a conservative from a leadership position having an influence on the state of Nevada.”

But the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which has a far-right outlook in its editorials, responded, “When Hansen had no power, when he was in the Assembly's minority, outside leadership, his opinions had no influence on state policy. Once someone seeks or gains greater power, they can expect more attention and more vetting.” It also said, “[I]n fact, it was his own repugnant writing that marginalized him.”