WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times apologized for an opinion column in which he counted President Obama's assassination as among Israel's options in heading off a nuclear Iran.
"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.
Fox News reported late Friday on its website that the Secret Service was investigating the column. In his interview with JTA, Adler said he had not been approached by the Secret Service.
In a Jan. 13 column, Adler, who is also the paper's publisher, outlined what he said were three possible responses by Israel to Iran's acquiring a nuclear weapon: A preemptive 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?"
Gawker, the gossip and media news website, first reported on the column Friday.
Ophir Aviran, the Israeli consul-general in Atlanta, condemned the column "in the strongest possible terms."
In response to a JTA request for comment, Aviran said in an email that he was "appalled at this deranged and morally repugnant assertion."
The Anti-Defamation League condemned Adler's column as "outrageous."
"An apology cannot possibly repair the damage," said the ADL's national director, Abraham Foxman, in a statement.
Foxman added: "Mr. Adler’s lack of judgment as a publisher, editor and columnist raises serious questions as to whether he’s fit to run a newspaper."
Jewish publisher is an idiot - but his hatred is shared by many
[Yes, we know. Just take a look at many rightwing bloggers to confirm this.]
Andrew Adler’s suggestion in the Atlanta Jewish Times that Israel assassinate President Obama is a blot both on Israel and on American Jews.
"Like most of you, I have never met Andrew B. Adler, owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, but I think we can all agree that the man is spectacularly stupid. In his contorted apologies he has described himself, after all, as “an idiot.”
The three or four infantile paragraphs of vile text that Adler published in his obscure Atlanta newspaper last week, in which he suggested that Israel consider assassinating President Obama, almost slipped under the radar, but was picked up yesterday by Gawker.com, and is now going viral. “A fool may throw a stone into a well which even a hundred wise men cannot pull out”, the saying goes, and it will indeed take a long time and a great effort to undo the damage that Adler has wrought, in one fell swoop, in defaming Israel by implying that it might, in anyone’s wildest dreams, consider such a kooky conspiracy; in staining American Jews by appearing to supposedly represent their twisted way of thinking; and even by undermining the institution of Jewish journalism by exposing that it harbors such birdbrained bozos in its midst.
It is ironic that Adler’s despicable diatribe comes against the backdrop of a fierce blogosphere debate that flared up yesterday about the term “Israel-firsters” and whether it is a legitimate critique or an anti-Semitic slur. Adler, for his part, has provided an example of a sub-specie of “Israel-firsters” that have not only lost track of where their loyalties lie, they have gone off the tracks altogether. He has pleased anti-Zionists and delighted anti-Semites by giving them the kind of “proof” they relish for accusing American supporters of Israel not of “double loyalty” but of one-sided treachery, plain and simple. "
"There is something eerily familiar in all this, of course, for anyone who was present 16 years ago at Tel Aviv’s Kikar Malchei Yisrael, as it was then known, on the night that Yitzhak Rabin was murdered. One can already envisage how Adler will be disowned, described as a “wild weed,” depicted as a lone wolf who does not represent anyone in his or in anyone else’s community and used as a springboard for a righteously indignant, preemptive counteroffensive that will show how his solitary case is being exploited to score points against anyone who legitimately criticizes Obama.
And while we might all stipulate that there is no Jew anywhere in the world who is currently contemplating any act of violence against President Obama, I know, and most of you know, that Adler’s crazy and criminal suggestions are not the ranting of some loony-tune individual and were not taken out of thin air - but are the inevitable result of the inordinate volume of repugnant venom that some of Obama’s political rivals, Jews and non-Jews included, have been spewing for the last three years.
Anyone who has spent any time talking to some of the more vociferous detractors of Obama, Jewish or otherwise, has inevitably encountered those nasty nutters, and they are many, who still believe he is a Muslim, who are utterly convinced that he wants to destroy Israel, and who seriously debate whether he is more like Ahmadinejad than Arafat or – and I heard this one with my own ears – more like Hitler than Haman.
Anyone who reads some of the opinion articles and blogs posted on the Internet by the more extreme Obama-hating writers and pundits – again, many of them Jews - cannot deny the wanton and inflammatory nature of much of their anti-Obama invective."
"One wonders how many of today’s anti-Obama politicians and opinion-makers, the latter-day elders of yore, will be able to read Adler’s crazed counsel to Benjamin Netanyahu, and, may that day never come, take a good look in the mirror, wash their hands of the whole affair and declare with a clear conscience that their otherwise sharp and probing eyes didn’t see a thing."