Tim Geithner, Not a Jew

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The Goldblog inbox is regularly visited by correspondents eager to make the case that the world economy is controlled by the Jews. Most of them make the case, at best, in semi-literate fashion (when anti-Semites write properly, or even use spell-check, I'm going to start worrying), and a surprising number of them make their arguments through the use of lists, which is to say, they provide me lists of prominent Jews as proof that.... there are a lot of prominent Jews. Where it gets highly amusing is when these lists contain the names of people who are quite obviously not Jewish. These days, the lists are dominated by one name: Tim Geithner. I've received dozens of e-mails claiming that Geithner is Jewish, and in the sway of nefarious Wall Street Talmudists. Here is an excerpt from one such letter:

"The jew Summers and the jew Geitner are giving our goverment to the Isrealis locks stocks and barrels. This is the plan from the beginning with the jew bernanke and obama who is suported by the jew emanel. obama gets all his money from jews and they are using the american tax money to push the arab out of palestine forever."

I always thought it was "lox, stock and barrel," but never mind that. Here's another: "Geithner is the zionist who is controlling the taxes and is under the complet control fo the mossad the zionist murder agency. this zionist is only one. the zionists are everywhere in the government of america."

It is true that Larry Summer and Ben Shalom Bernanke (anti-Semitic letter writers are always sure to mention his actual middle name, which is a beautiful middle name) and I suppose the  Jewishness of Summer and Bernanke alone is enough to send anti-Semitic fevers spiking. But I'm sorry to report that Timothy Franz Geithner is extremely not Jewish. This is not to say that some of his best friends aren't Jewish, but the man quite obviously doesn't show up on my Jewdar for any number of reasons, including that crucial "Franz." In fact, Geithner is, as best as anyone can tell, a member of the United Church of Christ.

Personally, I'd be happy to claim Geithner for the tribe (I'm happy to claim nearly everyone, except Charles Taylor), but I think the secretary is quite permanently seated on the Christian side of the aisle. In other words, please stop writing, anti-Semites e-mailers. Or at least come up with someone new. 

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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