Gingrich, Israel, and the Assassinate Obama Comments

Andrew Adler, the editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times, published a bizzare column suggesting that Mossad might have to assassinate President Obama in order to keep Israel safe from Iran, might never have made it beyond the small readership of that regional paper had the Guardian UK not picked it up. When this fantasy went global a great uproar arose, much of it hypocritical.

American Jewish organizations were quick to condemn the article and distance themselves from it’s author, but the nasty truth is that many self-proclaimed ‘pro-Israel’ types—Christians and Jews—have for the past four years been portraying Obama as Israel’s greatest enemy—another Haman or Hitler. It took the frequently brave journalists and editors of Haaretz, Israel’s newspaper of record, to point this out.

Adler quickly resigned, to the relief of the more moderate American Jewish organizations.

Strangely related is a story in tuesday’s NY Times, based on a Tweet from a columnist for the Las Vegas Sun, reporting that the Gingrich campaign, fresh from a South Carolina victory aided by a $5 million contribution from Sheldon Adelson—billionaire supporter of the Israeli Right and publisher of the hawkish Israeli tabloid Yisrael Shelanu (Our Israel)—was just given another $5 million by Dr. Miriam Adelson, Sheldon Adelson’s wife.
As the Times noted “Dr. Adelson’s check will bring the couple’s total contributions to Winning Our Future to $10 million, a figure that could substantially neutralize the millions of dollars already being spent in Florida by Mr. Romney and Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting him.” One factor that has endeared Gingrich to the Adelsons and other supporters of the Israeli Right is Newt’s promise to order—on his first day in the Oval Office—the move of the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an idea that, in addition to giving Israeli diplomats many sleepless nights, is a pet issue of the Israeli Right which has long sought for Jerusalem to be, in the eyes of the international community, exclusively Israel’s.

The Forward‘s Gal Beckerman nails the bigger picture:

[the] concern is that because of his influence on Gingrich, Adelson has turned the Republican contest into a competition of extreme rhetoric, in which there is no room for compromise or diplomacy, and the only answer to any international problem is unmitigated toughness. No one wants to be outflanked by the right when it comes to foreign policy (no one, I should say, besides Ron Paul) and so Gingrich’s apparent parroting of Adelson’s hardline attitudes about Israel — and, I should add, Iran — means that the whole tone of the race is affected.

The “whole tone of the race” and increasingly—community condemnation of Adler’s comments notwithstanding—the tone of our national rhetoric among both right wing Jewish and Christian Zionists.