Andrew B Adler, the owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, suggested in a column published a week ago that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should consider ordering U.S.-based Mossad agents to assassinate President Obama.
Netanyahu should then “forcefully dictate” to then-President Biden that the United States must help Israel “obliterate its enemies.”
Adler, concerned that some of his readers might find the scenario he was portraying implausible, wrote: “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?”
John Cook at Gawker called Adler to inquire about his column:
A nervous Adler told me over the phone that he wasn’t advocating Obama’s assassination by Mossad agents. “Of course not,” he said.
But do you think Israel should consider it an option? “No.”
But do you believe that Israel is in fact considering the option in its most inner circles? “No. Actually, no. I was hoping to make clear that it’s unspeakable—god forbid this would ever happen. I take it you’re quoting me?”
Yes. “Oh, boy.”
When I asked Adler why, if he didn’t advocate assassination and didn’t believe Israel was actually considering it, he wrote a column saying he believed that the option was “on the table,” he asked for a minute to compose himself and call me back. He did a few moments later, and said, “I wrote it to see what kind of reaction I was going to get from readers.”
And what was the reaction? “We’ve gotten a lot of calls and emails.”
A Secret Service spokesman, George Ogilvie, told Fox News that the agency is aware of the incident and is “conducting the appropriate investigative steps.”
Predictably, American Jewish community leaders have been quick to condemn Adler, but as Chemi Shalev notes in Haaretz, it is a mistake to dismiss Adler’s ideas as simply the ranting of a crazed individual.
There is something eerily familiar in all this, of course, for anyone who was present 16 years ago at Tel Aviv’s Kikar Malchei Yisrael, as it was then known, on the night that Yitzhak Rabin was murdered. One can already envisage how Adler will be disowned, described as a “wild weed,” depicted as a lone wolf who does not represent anyone in his or in anyone else’s community and used as a springboard for a righteously indignant, preemptive counteroffensive that will show how his solitary case is being exploited to score points against anyone who legitimately criticizes Obama.
And while we might all stipulate that there is no Jew anywhere in the world who is currently contemplating any act of violence against President Obama, I know, and most of you know, that Adler’s crazy and criminal suggestions are not the ranting of some loony-tune individual and were not taken out of thin air – but are the inevitable result of the inordinate volume of repugnant venom that some of Obama’s political rivals, Jews and non-Jews included, have been spewing for the last three years.
Anyone who has spent any time talking to some of the more vociferous detractors of Obama, Jewish or otherwise, has inevitably encountered those nasty nutters, and they are many, who still believe he is a Muslim, who are utterly convinced that he wants to destroy Israel, and who seriously debate whether he is more like Ahmadinejad than Arafat or – and I heard this one with my own ears – more like Hitler than Haman.
Anyone who reads some of the opinion articles and blogs posted on the Internet by the more extreme Obama-hating writers and pundits – again, many of them Jews – cannot deny the wanton and inflammatory nature of much of their anti-Obama invective.
And anyone who lived through the Israeli right-wing’s days of rage against Rabin and the Oslo Accords can never forget that this deluge of deadly toxins need trigger just one homicidal chemical reaction in just one fanatic brain for history to be changed forever.
Adler has now made a verbal apology, but suppose his links had been to Iran rather than Israel. Would the Secret Service now be conducting a low-key investigation or would the director of the FBI be holding a major news conference to announce Adler’s arrest?
About the author: Paul Woodward
Paul Woodward describes himself by nature if not profession, as a bricoleur. A dictionary of obscure words defines a bricoleur as “someone who continually invents his own strategies for comprehending reality.” Woodward has at various times been an editor, designer, software knowledge architect, and Buddhist monk, while living in England, France, India, and for the last twenty years the United States. He currently lives frugally in the Southern Appalachians with his wife, Monica, two cats and a dog Woodward maintains the popular website/blog, War in Context (http://warincontext.org), which "from its inception, has been an effort to apply critical intelligence in an arena where political judgment has repeatedly been twisted by blind emotions. It presupposes that a world out of balance will inevitably be a world in conflict."