Late yesterday I came upon an article in Haaretz which described the controversy surrounding the editorial written by the owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler. As reported in Haaretz, Adler write vile words:
The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, has suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu consider ordering a Mossad hit team to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama so that his successor will defend Israel against Iran.
Adler, who has since apologized for his article, listed three options for Israel to counter Iran’s nuclear weapons in an article published in his newspaper last Friday. The first is to launch a pre-emptive strike against Hamas and Hezbollah, the second is to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and the third is 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.”
Haaretz blogger Chemi Shalev writes:
The three or four infantile paragraphs of vile text that Adler published in his obscure Atlanta newspaper last week, in which he suggested that Israel consider assassinating President Obama, almost slipped under the radar, but was picked up yesterday by Gawker.com, and is now going viral. “A fool may throw a stone into a well which even a hundred wise men cannot pull out”, the saying goes, and it will indeed take a long time and a great effort to undo the damage that Adler has wrought, in one fell swoop, in defaming Israel by implying that it might, in anyone’s wildest dreams, consider such a kooky conspiracy; in staining American Jews by appearing to supposedly represent their twisted way of thinking; and even by undermining the institution of Jewish journalism by exposing that it harbors such birdbrained bozos in its midst.
How do we, American Jews, respond to Adler’s article – even after he apologized?
My response is simple: Adler should be arrested for incitement and tried. His 3rd suggestion is far worse than “idiotic” as his multiple apologies noted. They were words that incite. They reduce arguments over the relationship between America and Israel – between Obama and Netanyahu – to sewer-talk, or worse, to incitements to violence.
We Jews know that America is our home, and that Barak Obama is our president. Adler’s words are wrong, dangerous, offensive to all Americans and all Jews. There is no apology that can remove the damage. There is no way to excuse these words.
I look forward to hearing that all the major organizations of American Jewish life have denounced Adler’s editorial. Abraham Foxman of the ADL denounced it, saying:
There is absolutely no excuse, no justification, no rationalization for this kind of rhetoric. It doesn’t even belong in fiction. These are irresponsible and extremist words. It is outrageous and beyond the pale. An apology cannot possibly repair the damage.
Irresponsible rhetoric metastasizes into more dangerous rhetoric. 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.’
Mr. Adler’s lack of judgment as a publisher, editor and columnist raises serious questions as to whether he’s fit to run a newspaper.
So again I say, Andrew Adler should be arrested and tried for incitement against the President. And the American Jewish community should support the arrest and call for his punishment and jailing.
Not because the words embarrass us. Not because they make us uncomfortable. But because they are wrong, dangerous, extremist, unAmerican, unJewish, and maliciously unrepresentative about how American Jews feel about America and about President Obama.