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 Obama.
Andrew Adler, in an email obtained by JTA, announced Monday 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 in heading 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 Monday that it would suspend its relationship with the Atlanta Jewish Times until Adler removed himself from the newspaper's 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 issued Monday to constituent groups.
In a Jan. 13 column, Adler outlined what he said were three possible responses by Israel to Iran's acquiring a nuclear weapon: a pre-emptive strike against Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorist groups that 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?
The Anti-Defamation League and the National Jewish Democratic Council also condemned Adler for his column. 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.
Adler apologized last week.
"I very much regret it, I wish I hadn't made reference to it at all," Andrew Adler told JTA on Friday.
He said he would publish an apology in his next edition, and that reaction from readers had been overwhelmingly negative.
Gawker, the gossip and political website, first reported on the column.
In his column, Adler described Obama's Iran policy as an "Alice in Wonderland" belief that diplomacy with Iran will prevent it from going nuclear.
The president and CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council, David Harris, called the column "the height of irresponsibility," "descpicable" and "beyond the pale."
"This episode demonstrates just how low our political discourse has sunk," said Harris.