The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times found himself apologizing Friday for suggesting that Israeli security forces in the U.S. “take out” President Barack Obama, who he said has been deemed unfriendly to the Jewish state.
In a Jan. 13 opinion piece, Andrew Adler offered three possible options to ensure Israel’s security in the Middle East: a strike against the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, an attack against Iran, and having Israel’s U.S.-based Mossad agents assassinate Obama.
Adler said “a hit” against the president would “preserve Israel’s existence.” He said Vice President Joe Biden would then be able “to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.”
The Obama administration and Israeli government have been at odds over how to respond to Iran’s disputed nuclear program, which is seen as a threat to the Jewish state.
A Secret Service spokesman wouldn’t confirm that an investigation of Adler was under way but he told ABC News the publisher could be interviewed. “We are aware of this matter, and we will make all appropriate, investigative follow-up in regard to this matter,” Max Milien told the news organization.
In his column, Adler speculated Israel was already considering such an attack on Obama.
Adler rhetorically asked, “How far would you go to save a nation comprised of seven million lives … Jews, Christians and Arabs alike? You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table.”
Adler is acknowledging that he has received a barrage of negative reaction to his comments and has apologized.
“I very much regret it; I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” Adler told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.
In an interview with Gawker.com, Adler denied that he was advocating an assassination attempt against Obama.
“Of course not,” he told the website. He also said he didn’t believe Israel was considering one nor should it be considered as an option. Adler said he plans publish an apology.
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, was in Israel on Friday and he was expected to urge the country not to rush to attack Iran at a time when the U.S. is trying to rally additional global support to pressure Tehran through sanctions to dial back its nuclear program. Dempsey met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been warning about the dangers of the Iranian nuclear program for more than a decade.
The Atlanta Jewish Times is a weekly community newspaper that Adler acquired in 2009. Since the uproar, he told ABC, a few rabbis have told him, “You’re a meshugenah,” Yiddish for “nut.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report