The Atlanta Jewish Times is looking for a new owner. The reason? Its founder and original publisher, Andrew Adler, is facing investigation by the FBI and United States Secret Service.
In a piece dated January 13th, 2012, Adler decried the endless terrorist activity of Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as the United States government’s malaise in view of the ever-increasing threat of a nuclear Iran. To solve Israel’s problems, Adler offered the following solutions:
“One, order a pre-emptive strike against both Hezbollah and Hamas […] Two, go against Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s wishes […] and order the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities at all costs.”
While it is certainly possible that Israel is considering these options, Adler’s third option (the one he favors) stirred up some controversy:
“Three, 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.”
In case the reader could not believe his or her eyes, Adler reaffirms his brilliant diplomatic maneuver by continuing, “Yes, you read ‘three’ correctly. Order a hit on the president in order to preserve Israel’s existence.”
Even if the authorities decide that Adler’s moronic recommendation does not represent a credible threat to homeland security, he will not be appointed to any foreign policymaking posts any time soon.
Adler’s piece was not published in his newspaper and might have gone unnoticed had the popular website Gawker not picked it up; instead, it has turned into an international scandal. Almost immediately after the article went viral, various Jewish advocacy organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, issued statements condemning Adler’s incendiary words in an attempt to demarcate Adler as an isolated case — an unwelcome blip on the radar.
However, despite the efforts of these Jewish institutions, an inordinate number of comments on articles about this disturbing incident call for an apology from the entire Jewish community.
It is obvious that the Jewish people are often seen (and see themselves) as an extremely cohesive group — a long history of stereotyping, discrimination, violence, and attempted genocide has brought Jews together in a very unique way. To put it simply, Jews stick together, and they stick by each other. The vast majority of American Jews are concerned with Israel’s well-being, and therefore scrutinize the foreign policy of every president when it comes to the Jewish State. Adler’s ideas are outrageous, but their mere presence suggests that a significant segment of the American Jewish community is dissatisfied with its government vis-a-vis Israel (see “Why do some Jews see Obama as so sinister?”).
However, this “group” image can lead to the dangerous misconception that the entire Jewish community abides by a homogeneous, collective mentality. Holding the entire Jewish community responsible for the actions of one misguided journalist is simply absurd.
Unfortunately, Adler’s article is harmful to Jews in more ways than one. In addition to exposing Jews to unfounded anger (the Atlanta Jewish Federation wrote that “the damage done to the people of Israel, the global Jewish people, and especially the Jewish community of Atlanta is irreparable”), it draws the world’s attention away from the pressing issues at hand.
We should not take Andrew Adler seriously by any stretch of the imagination; but more importantly, we must ensure that the issues he mentions remain at the forefront of our minds. American Jews do not collectively owe the country an apology. Nevertheless, relying on the childish “It wasn’t me!” excuse will do nothing to ameliorate the situation. Missiles from Hezbollah and Hamas continue to threaten the lives of Israeli civilians, and Iran continues to flaunt its complete disregard for international pressure in its quest for a nuclear weapon. Adler’s article sent shockwaves through the global community, automatically superimposing his blasphemous suggestions onto the real problems; Israel’s enemies have not disappeared, but the imminence of their threats can easily be eclipsed by the global outrage.
In response to Andrew Adler’s calamitous blunder, the Jewish community must redouble their efforts to publicize Israel’s chief concerns and propose solutions that preferably do not involve assassinations. When Adler’s article appeared, the world momentarily stopped caring that Iran wishes to see Israel destroyed — it only sees a single Jewish journalist seemingly speaking on behalf of Israelis and Jews all over the world, and his treacherous betrayal. Even though Adler is a single voice, his words are deafening to those unfamiliar with the reality of Israel’s vulnerability. Therefore, the onus is on the Jewish people to make sure that the world sees the Jewish community as a unified yet multidimensional group with diverse opinions — a group working together to solve its problems, not create more of them.