Update: AJT Publisher Stepping Down After Assassination Column Read more below the fold …
NEW YORK (Ynet News) – The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, has suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu consider ordering a Mossad hit team to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama so that his successor will defend Israel against Iran.
Adler listed three options for Israel to counter Iran’s nuclear weapons in an article published in his newspaper last Friday. The first is to launch a pre-emptive strike against Hamas and Hezbollah, the second is to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and the third is to “give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.”
Andrew Adler goes on to write: “Yes, you read “three correctly.” Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence.
Adler apologized yesterday for the article, saying “I very much regret it; I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” Adler told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. And in an interview with Gawker.com, Adler denied that he was advocating an assassination of Obama.
[Links added are mine – Oui]
More below the fold …
(The Forward) – The Secret Service says it is investigating and a parade of Jewish leaders quickly moved to denounce Andrew Adler, publisher and owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Adler, who is a member of the Chabad Movement and has been active in the Atlanta Jewish community for years, bought the paper 2-1/2 years ago. It has a circulation of between 3,000 and 4,000.
The Anti-Defamation League denounced the opinion piece as “outrageous and beyond the pale.” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said:
“There is absolutely no excuse, no justification, no rationalization for this kind of rhetoric. These are irresponsible and extremist words. It is outrageous and beyond the pale. An apology cannot possibly repair the damage.”
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) blasted Adler’s column, calling in the “height of irresponsibility,” said President David A. Harris in a statement. “To dare to give such despicable ideas space in a newspaper … is beyond the pale.”
The Jewish Federation of Atlanta contacted Adler shortly after the article was published and urged him to retract the piece. “We don’t agree with his sentiment,” Atlanta Federation marketing director Tali Benjamin said. She stressed that the Atlanta Jewish Times is a private and independent newspaper that does not receive support from the federation.
(Southern Jewish Life) – Andrew Adler, publisher and owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times, announced today that he will be stepping down from his role with the paper. As of now, media reports differ on whether Adler has decided to try and sell the 90-year-old paper. JTA reported that Adler wrote an email stating he is looking to sell, while according to CNN, AJT staffers said there was no announcement regarding plans to sell.
The controversy came in a speculative column that gave circumstances under which Israel, faced with a foot-dragging U.S. administration interested only in diplomacy, could consider assassinating “a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place,” which was universally seen as a reference to President Barack Obama. The Secret Service is apparently investigating.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta condemned the column and stated “a call for an immediate and public apology” was issued within days of publication. The Federation suspended its relationship with AJT — which is independent of the Federation — until several criteria are met “to ensure no further harm comes to our community.”
The criteria include no further columns by Adler following the apology this coming week, appointment of an editor-in-chief to oversee content, convening of an advisory committee of community members and leaders and to provide guidance on any change of control of the AJT, or if there is no new editor-in-chief and advisory committee, Adler selling the AJT.
Over the weekend, Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting aired an emotional interview [VIDEO] with Adler where he apologized to Obama, Israel and the Atlanta Jewish community, stating he intended to generate more interest in the threat Israel faced from a nuclear Iran.
Among the organizations applauding his resignation was B’nai B’rith International, which stated
“The damage inflicted on Israel and perhaps on U.S.-Israel relations is incalculable. We hope that Adler’s swift resignation will help quell any fallout from his outrageous scenario.”