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Jewish American publisher faces criticism for suggesting Netanyahu consider the assassination of President Obama

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Owner and publisher of The Atlanta Jewish Times has offered his apology twice for suggesting that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should order Mossad agents to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama in an attempt to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Andrew Adler wrote an op-ed piece on January 13 in which he presented Israel with three options: one, attack Hezbollah and Hamas, two, order the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities at all costs, and third, to assassinate President Obama.

“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,” Adler wrote.

The op-ed is no longer available online but was posted by gawker.com.

“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 writes.

Reactions

Reactions were far more vociferous against Adler from Israelis or Jewish Americans in comparison to the wider American public.

George Ogilvie, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service said that “we’re conducting the appropriate investigative steps.”

But Ogilvie would not comment on whether Adler has been contacted or whether his column was deemed a potential threat to the president.

Meanwhile, Chemi Shalev, the U.S. foreign correspondent in the Israeli newspaper, The Haaretz, wrote a headline on Saturday that read: “Jewish publisher is an idiot – but his hatred is shared by many.”

Shalev said under Israeli law, “Adler could be prosecuted for inciting to violence and could be sentenced to five years in jail.”

The veteran journalist continued by saying that in the state of Georgia where the Atlanta newspaper is located, there is a penal code that contains the offense of “criminal solicitation” which occurs “when, with intent that another person engage in conduct constituting a felony, he solicits, requests, commands, importunes, or otherwise attempts to cause the other person to engage in such conduct.”

According to Shalev, Adler’s op-ed “might arguably fit the bill.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council described Adler’s comments as “despicable.”

“It is the height of irresponsibility to make the horrific suggestion that the state of Israel should assassinate the President of the United States of America,” NJDC President David Harris said in a statement.

“To dare to give such despicable ideas space in a newspaper ─ no less in the words of the paper’s owner and publisher, and a Jewish newspaper at that ─ is beyond the pale,” Harris’ statement added.

Activist Abraham H. Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League and born to Polish-Jewish parents, said there is “no excuse” for that 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,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

Incessant apologies

In an interview with Gawker on Friday, Adler said he had written the piece just to “see what kind of reaction I would get from readers.”

Now, however, Adler has issued a full apology.

“I very much regret it, I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Friday.

On Sunday The Global News Service of The Jewish People reported that Adler expanded on his apology in an 18 minute interview with Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters TV.

Despite criticism from the right wing Republicans that Obama is not showing full support to the state of Israel and is being rather passive in his approach with Iran, the Jewish news site, Forward, reported that the top-level Jewish fundraisers from Obama’s 2008 campaign are sticking with the President in 2012.