Adler's Tearful On-Air Apology: 'Call Me Naive'

Andrew Adler, owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, appears on a local cable program to apologize for his recent column proposing that Israel assassinate President Obama. It’s a wrenchingly, gruesomely compelling scene of a broken man who plainly has no idea how he got himself in this mess.

That’s actually a bit disingenuous. What he wrote in the column was, “You have got to believe, as I do, that all options are on the table.” In other words, I mean what I say. On the other hand, he repeats this idea over and over, that it was just a thought exercise, and you get the impression that he has convinced himself he didn’t mean it.

Still. “The intentions were good, to get more people involved, to promote Israel’s side.” How could that be a bad thing?

One of the most intriguing threads is his recollection of his January 15 interview with Israel’s deputy consul general in Atlanta. Toward the end, he says, “she wanted to talk about Iran”:

Again, as I wrote in my post last night, this is the end result of a campaign of incitement. The very healthy instinct among American Jews to want the best for Israel is exploited, fed with a deliberately exaggerated sense of threat and vulnerability, until anything seems imaginable. Let’s be clear: there is a real threat. But it’s less than it was a generation ago. And yet it seems that as the threat declines, the rage grows.

Most of us don’t cross the line, but there’s always someone who will. The interviewer alludes to that when she suggests to Adler that “some might be reminded” by his column of what happened to Yitzhak Rabin. His response is a befuddled: “True – I wasn’t – to look back on it, I screwed up.”

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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