Last week Andrew Adler was little known in the world of Jewish publishing. Today, the owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times has become a blemished footnote.
A column Adler penned earlier this month has gone viral. It was an idiotic essay focusing on three ways to deal with the threat of Iran going nuclear – strike Hezbollah and Hamas, strike Iran or assassinate the President of the United States.
Making matters even worse is Andrew’s fantasy-fueled notion that Israeli leaders share his naïve and dangerous ideas. Here’s his thinking in his own words: “… 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 … 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?”
Well, ah, no Andrew, I don’t really think that Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders are in favor of offing Barak Obama or that fiction – even fiction once on the New York Time’s bestseller’s list – is part of the geo-political conversation in Jerusalem.
Andrew has embarrassed himself. Far worse, he’s opened a can of worms that anti-Semites, loony liberals and right-wing kooks are using to bash Israel, raising questions about U.S. foreign aid to the Jewish state, and re-examining the world of “Israel Firsters” – Americans who promote Israel’s position on Iran and other issues over those of the U.S.
Hundreds of news organizations and websites – Gawker, Huffington Post, ABC News, Fox, The Guardian, Haaretz – have picked up on the story, offering up an audience of millions literally around the world. The Atlanta Jewish Times, btw, has a weekly circulation of a few thousand.
The stories and commentary show Andrew to be a fool. Andrew is even quoted in several posts detailing how a few Atlanta-area rabbis have told him he’s meshuggah – crazy!
Andrew says he’ll be printing an apology next week. He says he actually supports Obama, believes deeply in Israel and was just trying to get a little response from his reading audience. Hey, Andrew, mission accomplished. Mazel Tov!
I’ve met Andrew a few times over the years. I’m thinking he’s harmless. Yet this isn’t the first time he’s embarrassed himself with his ill-conceived and poorly written columns.
Last year, after the death of a well-respected leader of the Jewish community, Andrew lashed out at others in Atlanta who he said, essentially, could never fill the void left by the man’s passing. The only problem with that notion is that Atlanta is fortunate to have many leaders – all successful, hugely supportive of the Jewish community in their philanthropic efforts – with vision and grit.
A bit later, Andrew offered up a nonsensical essay on how best to heal the economic problems of several iconic Jewish institutions by merging the organizations and their missions. All he accomplished was irritating and alienating his core constituency.
Truth to tell, it has been years – long before Andrew took over ownership – since The Atlanta Jewish Times has been a vital part of the local Jewish scene or wielded any clout. Andrew has been forced to sit on the sidelines, a peripheral figure mostly ignored and viewed as a silly crank.
Simply put, his recent splash across the web is a shanda. In a world that moves at the speed of light, where a tiny publication can momentarily find itself center stage, Andrew needs to put down his pen. He’s stuck it too deeply up his tush to ever get it out. It’s time that both Andrew and The Jewish Times simply go away.