WASHINGTON - The owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times weekly caused an uproar when he suggested that Israel consider "a hit" on US President Barack Obama "in order to preserve Israel’s existence" in case Iran obtains nuclear capabilities.
In his column, published last week, Andrew Adler laid out what he said were three options available to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in countering the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program. One of the options was to "give the go-ahead for US-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."
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According to Adler, who later apologized for his column, Obama has an "Alice in Wonderland" belief in diplomacy over force.
"Yes, you read '(option) 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.
Adler went on to ask: "How far would you go to save a nation comprised of 7 million lives – Jews, Christians and Arabs alike? You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table."
The publisher's comments were harshly condemned by Jewish columnists and organizations.
The president and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council, David Harris, called the column "the height of irresponsibility," "despicable" and "beyond the pale."
"This episode demonstrates just how low our political discourse has sunk," said Harris.
Dov Wilker, director of AJC Atlanta, said Adler's proposals are “shocking beyond belief.”
"While we acknowledge Mr. Adler's apology, we are flabbergasted that he could ever say such a thing in the first place. How could he even conceive of such a twisted idea?" said Wilker. "Mr. Adler surely owes immediate apologies to President Obama, as well as to the State of Israel and his readership, the Atlanta Jewish community."
Opher Aviran, Israel's consul general to the southeastern United States, said he was "shocked" by Adler's "insane" and "immoral" statement.
On Friday Adler told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency "I very much regret it, I wish I hadn't made reference to it at all."
He said he would publish an apology in his next edition, and that reaction from readers had been overwhelmingly negative.