By Michael Collins Piper
At the height of a growing frenzy among American friends of Israel who demand the United States attack Iran, a leader of the Jewish community publicly called for Israel’s Mossad to assassinate President Barack Obama in order to save Israel from Iran.
On January 13, Andrew Adler, editor and publisher of The Atlanta Jewish Times—joining an ever-more-boisterous chorus of angry voices—wrote a column declaring Israel had three options (all violent) to ensure its security. The first option was to attack its enemies in Hezbollah and Hamas. The second was to attack Iran. The third option: “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.”
To ensure readers understood what he was saying, Adler underscored his call for Obama’s murder, writing: “Yes, you read ‘three’ correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence.”
He added: “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? . . . You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table.”
News of this open call by a Jewish leader for the president’s assassination did not receive any notice outside the Jewish community until after an independent Internet website discovered the story and publicized it. In fact, most major news outlets completely suppressed this important story.
Forced by public outrage to comment, other Jewish leaders asserted this was “just one man’s opinion” but the truth is that one man—known to be deeply religious and long active in Jewish affairs—was the publisher of an influential newspaper serving one of the wealthiest and most powerful communities in a pivotal metropolitan area.
Although Soviet-born Abraham H. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish lobby kingpins denounced the candid opinions expressed by one of their own, their outrage seemed to some observers to be more hinged on the fact that Adler’s honesty too openly exposed the point that there is deep anger toward Obama by those who perceive the president to be hostile to Israel.
As far back as its July/August 2009 issue, Commentary, the magazine of the American Jewish Committee, referred to Obama’s “turn against Israel”—just one notable example of this mindset.
Adler’s viewpoint reflects the attitude of many in the pro-Israel community, evidenced by heavy-handed attacks on the president appearing in Jewish community newspapers from the beginning of his presidency.
Chemi Shalev admitted in an essay in Israel’s Ha’aretz on January 22, that Adler’s views do reflect the thinking of what Shalev referred to as “many.”
Commenting that “Adler’s crazy and criminal suggestions are not the ranting of some loony-tune individual and were not taken out of thin air,” Shalev said Adler’s anger was “the inevitable result of the inordinate volume of repugnant venom” spewed at Obama by “many who still believe he is a Muslim, who are convinced that he wants to destroy Israel and who seriously debate whether he is more like Ahmadinejad than Arafat or. . .more like Hitler than Haman.”
Some speculate the Adler affair was stage-managed from the start—a contrived provocation to stir up more discussion in the Jewish community of Obama’s intransigence toward Israel. Adler himself said he “wanted to get a reaction,” and he did: Jewish people across America are aware—now more than ever—that many of their leaders are hostile to Obama because of his policy toward Israel.
The Secret Service claims it is “investigating,” although few believe Adler will be prosecuted. In the meantime, Adler apologized and “resigned” as editor of his own newspaper and put it up for sale.
The call for Obama’s assassination does come at a time when pro-Israel voices are howling for Obama to wage war against Iran on Israel’s behalf.
On January 18, The Wall Street Journal—controlled by hardline pro-Israel billionaire Rupert Murdoch—published a screaming pro-war commentary titled “The Mortal Threat from Iran.” The author—Mark Helprin—is an American conservative who holds membership in the influential Council on Foreign Relations and who is also a former member of both the Israeli infantry and the Israeli air force.
Helprin declared that “any president of the United States fit for the office . . . should order the armed forces of the United States to attack and destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons complex.”
Acknowledging Americans would suffer retaliatory attacks from Iran, Helprin concluded it would be worth the cost to put an end to such a “vengeful, martyrdom-obsessed state in the midst of a never-subsiding fury against the West.”
This hysterical bellicosity appearing in the otherwise staid Journal is not out of the ordinary. It is found in much of the media as the pressure for war escalates.
The question remains: Will Obama be intimidated by the threats, or will he withstand the demands of the powerful minority who want war?
Michael Collins Piper is an author, journalist, lecturer and radio show host. He has spoken in Russia, Malaysia, Iran, Abu Dhabi, Japan, Canada and the U.S.