George S. Hishmeh
The Jordan Times (Opinion)
January 27, 2012 - 1:00am

It is unbelievable, actually bewildering, that an American newspaperman should suggest that one of three options facing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the conflict with Iran over its nuclear policies is to assassinate the American president.

Although he did not mention Barack Obama by name, all those who read the column felt this American president was the target.

Equally appalling has been the failure of the American media, by and large, to cover this shocking issue that surfaced two weeks ago on a website.

Surprisingly, it hardly attracted national attention except within the influential American Jewish community and the American Jewish media, since the author of the column was the Jewish publisher and editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times.

An Arab-American who runs a think tank in Washington but refused to be identified wondered, in an e-mail sent to this writer, what would have been the consequences had the author been Arab-American. Certainly the uproar would have been sky high, but obviously it is not the case of this Jewish newspaper.

Meantime, The New York Times, much to its credit, reported last Tuesday that a shady feature film titled “The Third Jihad” was shown to nearly 1,500 police officers as part of training at the New York Police Department.

What appears on the screen, the Times found out, is that “Muslim terrorists shoot Christians in the head, car bombs explode, executed children lie covered by sheets and a doctored photograph shows an Islamic flag flying by the White House”.

The paper said: “News that police trainers showed this film so extensively comes as the department wrestles with its relationship with the city’s large Muslim community.”

It added that the police department offered no apology for “aggressively” spying on Muslim groups although civil rights advocates say the department, “in its zeal, has trampled on civil rights, blurred lines between foreign and domestic spying and sown fear among Muslims”.

As for the Jewish editor of the Atlanta paper, Andrew B. Adler, he outlined in his column three options that Israel, unlike the Obama administration, will be facing in the alleged threat posed by Iran: strike Hizbollah and Hamas, strike Iran, or “order a hit” on the president.

Adler’s option three reads: “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.”

Yes, you read it correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence.

Think about it. Isn’t it logical to believe, reading about this scenario, that the idea was discussed in Israel’s innermost circles?

Adler’s shocking suggestion touched off an outcry within the influential Jewish community, drew minimal attention from two television networks and was met with virtual silence by the country’s major newspapers.

An influential member of one liberal Jewish organisation, who asked not to be identified, pointed his finger at the Republic Jewish Coalition, a political lobbying group that fervently supports Israel and the remaining Republican presidential candidates for the silence.

Although the White House has yet to comment on Adler’s loud opinion, probably in a way that does not antagonise the Jewish community, the Secret Service, is said to be aware of the column, titled “What would you do?” and “are taking the appropriate investigative steps”.

What all this means is that Obama has to watch his step, nationally and internationally in the next few months, a position that may prejudice various issues now being debated or articulated in the Middle East. Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the extremist Anti-Defamation League, dismissed an apology from Adler because in his opinion, it “cannot possibly repair the damage”.

He acknowledged that “the ideas expressed in Mr. Adler’s column reflect some of the extremist rhetoric that unfortunately exists — even in some segments of our (Jewish) community — that maliciously labels President Obama as an enemy of the Jewish people”. Adler apologised for what was described as “incendiary rhetoric” and on Monday announced his resignation from his paper established in 1925, which he bought less than three years ago.

On the other hand, Israel’s targeted assassinations of yesteryears are well-known in the Arab world, going back to the so-called 1954 Lavon Affair, a failed Israeli covert operation that involved planting bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned targets in Egypt and, more recently, its alleged role in the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

The American media have to examine themselves more seriously. They should not remain silent when an American president is threatened.


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