Publisher of Atlanta Jewish Times resigns over Obama threat

The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times has resigned and is seeking a buyer in the wake of a column he wrote speculating that Israel would consider assassinating President Barack Obama.

Andrew Adler announced Jan. 23 that he is “relinquishing all day-to-day activities effective immediately” following the publishing of his opinion piece saying that Obama’s assassination was among Israel’s options to head off a nuclear Iran.

Adler named staff writer John McCurdy as interim managing editor until a replacement can be found. Adler said he would publish an apology in his next edition and that reaction from readers had been overwhelmingly negative.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta said earlier that day that it would suspend its relationship with the paper until Adler removed himself from operations. The federation also called on Adler to sell the weekly.

“While we acknowledge his public apology and remorse, the damage done to the people of Israel, the global Jewish people, and especially the Jewish Community of Atlanta is irreparable,” the Atlanta federation said in a statement.

In a Jan. 13 column, Adler outlined what he said were Israel’s three possible responses to Iran’s acquiring a nuclear weapon: a pre-emptive strike against Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorist groups he said would be emboldened by a nuclear Iran; a direct strike on Iran; and “three, 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.”

He continued, “Yes, you read ‘three’ correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don’t you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles?”

Condemnations poured in from national Jewish groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the National Jewish Democratic Council and the Union for Reform Judaism, among others. David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, also called on Adler to resign from the newspaper.

CNN reported that the Secret Service is investigating Adler over the column.

On the same day Adler announced his resignation, the competing Atlanta Jewish News announced plans to launch a print edition of its 2-year-old online Jewish news site. — jta