Jewish writer criticised for Israel presidential assassination column

A Jewish newspaper owner in Atlanta has issued an apology after he wrote a piece suggesting that Israel should consider assassinating a US president to ensure its own security.

Andrew Adler, who is also the publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, argued that in the light of the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israel should "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."

The piece, described as "outrageous and beyond the pale" by the Anti-Defamation League, appeared in the newspaper's opinion section on January 13. The US Secret Service is now investigating it.

Mr Adler told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he regretted including the comment as one of three options for Israel in response to Iranian aggression. "I wish I hadn't made reference to it at all," he said.

His piece, in a weekly paper founded in 1925, was roundly condemned by J ewish communal organisations. Dov Wilker, director of the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta, said it was shocking beyond belief that anyone could make such a suggestion.

"We are flabbergasted that he could ever say such a thing," he said. "How could he even conceive of such a twisted idea? Mr Adler surely owes immediate apologies to President Obama, as well as to the state of Israel and his readership."

The ADL's national director, Abraham Foxman, said Mr Adler's "extremist" words were irresponsible and should raise questions over whether he was fit to run a newspaper.

"There is absolutely no excuse, no justification, no rationalisation for this kind of rhetoric," he said. "It doesn't even belong in fiction."

Simon Wiesenthal Centre associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper called for Jewish leaders across the ideological and political spectrum to condemn the comments.

Last updated: 10:36am, January 23 2012