Musing openly about murdering President Barack Obama is certain to stir some attention.
So is publicly suggesting it’s a job for Mossad – Israel’s no-nonsense spy agency with its long record of assassinating enemies of the Jewish state.
Yet that’s just what the editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, did in a column laying out the three options Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has when faced with Mr. Obama’s unwillingness to wage war on Iran.
Option three, wrote Mr. Adler, is for the Israeli leader to “give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice-president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.”
With a usual readership of only a few thousand, the Atlanta Jewish Times rarely reaches beyond the Georgia’s genteel suburbs. But Mr. Adler now has readers worldwide.
In Washington, Secret Service agents, already coping with record numbers of threats against America’s first black president, falsely accused by some of being a Muslim or a non-native-born citizen ineligible to be president, will “make all appropriate, investigative follow-up in regard to this matter,” the agency said.
Gawker, the news and gossip site, gave Mr. Adler’s violent musings global exposure.
Mr. Adler now insists he wasn’t seriously urging the assassination of the President.
But in his original column, he makes clear that he considers a “hit” a genuine option.
“Yes, you read “three” correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don’t you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles?” he wrote. Options one and two were all-out Israeli attacks on Hezbollah or Iran’s nuclear sites.
Now Mr. Adler says: “I feel really bad,” and promises an apology and a retraction in the next, monthly, issue of the Atlanta Jewish Times. There’s no mention either of the “hit” option, nor the intended apology on his website.
Mainstream Jewish groups hammered Mr. Adler.
Calling the “hit” option, “shocking beyond belief,” Dov Wilker, director of American Jewish Committee in Atlanta, added: “How could he even conceive of such a twisted idea?”
But some see Mr. Adler’s musings as a rare public reminder of the usually unspoken and viciously hostile view of a President many regard as anti-Israel.
“Adler’s crazy and criminal suggestions are not the ranting of some loony-tune individual,” opined Chemi Shalev, a political analyst at the leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “They were not taken out of thin air. Rather, they are the inevitable result of the inordinate volume of repugnant venom that some of Obama’s political rivals, Jews and non-Jews alike, have been spewing for the last three years.”
Others blasted Mr. Adler, although there was widespread acknowledgment that he was only saying what many others believe. “The ideas expressed in Mr. Adler’s column reflect some of the extremist rhetoric that unfortunately exists – even in some segments of our community – that maliciously labels President Obama as an enemy of the Jewish people,” said Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.