US National Security Adviser James Jones apologized Monday for his opening "Jewish merchant" joke at the 25-year anniversary gala of the Washington Institute For Near East Policy last weekend.Jones apologized saying, "I wish that I had not made this off the cuff joke at the top of my remarks, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it. It also distracted from the larger message I carried that day: that the United States commitment to Israel's security is sacrosanct."Here is how Jones' joke went: "A Taliban militant gets lost and is wandering around the desert looking for water. He finally arrives at a store run by a Jew and asks for water.The Jewish vendor tells him he doesn't have any water but can gladly sell him a tie. The Taliban begins to curse and yell at the Jewish storeowner. The Jew, unmoved, offers the rude militant an idea: Beyond the hill, there is a restaurant; they can sell you water.The Taliban keeps cursing and finally leaves toward the hill. An hour later he's back at the tie store. He walks in and tells the merchant: "Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant."White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the joke was not included in the official White House transcript of the speech because Jones' speech was not a presidential event, and a stenographer was not present.