Tonight, CNN.com carries headlines about the publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, writing an editorial suggesting ways in which Israel might move ahead with its defense against a nuclear Iran. Apparently (the piece is no longer on-line, so verification is not possible), one of his theoretical scenarios was that the Mossad assassinate the President of the United States, since he is perceived as an obstacle to moving against Iran.
The idea of such an assassination is as morally abhorrent as it is fundamentally ludicrous... so how does someone publish this?
I think it's a symptom of one of the great problems that many groups face: We spend too much time talking to ourselves.
"Iran is dangerous!"
"Even the IAEA said Iran is creating nuclear weapons."
"Someone has to stop them!"
"Israel will stop them."
"But Obama is blocking them!"
"They can't let Obama stop them - it's about Israel's survival!"
"How long do you think they have before Iran has a weapon?"
"I read it's just a few months."
"I think they have a bomb already."
"Israel needs to do something now. Ahmedinajad has said he wants to wipe them off the map - he just needs the bomb, and then he can do it."
"They need to act now, but Obama is holding them back!"
"Well, Israel can take care of that..."
Talking to people who disagree with us is important, if only so that someone takes the rhetorical wind out of our sails with challenging questions. Spend enough time in dialogue with people who believe the same thing, and we end pushing each other to greater extremes, as we convince each other of our correctness and the importance of our mission.
Andrew Adler, Exhibit A.