Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

  • Would You Go to a Hezbollah-Supported Synagogue?

    Apparently, Hezbollah doesn't mind if Jews spend thousands of dollars to fix up the 84-year-old Maghen-Abraham synagogue in Beirut. Though the terrorist group's presence in the country is likely responsible, at least in part, for the dimimished size of the Lebanese Jewish community (about 200), a Hezbollah spokesman said last year that they "respect the Jewish religion just like we do Christianity. The Jews have always lived among us. We have an issue with Israel's occupation of land," the L.A. Times reported. Still, the renovations have barely been mentioned in Lebanese newspapers, and if you try to snap a picture of the site, you'll get arrested -- perhaps an effort to keep Iran from finding out.

  • Michael Oren at Aspen: Iran's Threat to Israel (Cont'd)

    The last part of my Aspen Ideas Festival interview with Michael Oren, the new Israeli ambassador in Washington, focused on the most dangerous threat to Israel's existence: Iran.

    Jeffrey Goldberg:
    Existential threats to Israel. Iran, obviously, is at the top of the Prime Minster's list, at the top of most Israelis'.

    Michael Oren: And a lot of Arabs' lists.

    JG: And a lot of Arabs' lists as well. Go through the existential threats very quickly, if you could, and your view of those existential threats, and talk about the current moment in Iran and the specific question on Iran -- that is, do you agree with the Obama administration's approach to the current crisis in Iran?

    MO: Israel has supported the Obama administration's approach of outreach and engagement with Iran. We believe that the president has America's best interest at heart, we believe he has the interests of the region at heart, we are concerned. We are concerned about the timing and the time-line of this engagement. There are clocks ticking all around. One of those clocks is the Iranian enrichment clock, which will show that, by a certain date, the Iranians will have sufficient, highly enriched materials to create a bomb that could literally wipe Israel off the map in a matter of seconds, that they could accomplish, in a matter of seconds what they deny Hitler did, and kill 6 million Jews, literally. We have that clock.

    We are anxious also that Iran, in the course of this engagement, shows a change of policy in the region, [in] its support of terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, that are also trying to wipe Israel off the map. Now we are particularly concerned, and the American administration is concerned as well, in light of recent events in Iran. Everyone's waiting, everyone's seeing what's going to come out of this situation in Iran. But while we're waiting, while we're watching, the clocks are still ticking in Iran.

    JG: Do you believe that President Obama was strong enough in his support, moral support, for the Iranian people? Do you think there's more that President Obama could do?

    MO: I'm not going to second-guess President Obama's positions on Iran. I think his last statement was very clear, very adamant in his condemnation of the regime's suppression of peaceful demonstrators in Tehran and other cities. I think it's very important, again, that we watch carefully what happens in Iran, on one level the events in Iran have unmasked to the world, to anybody whoever doubted the true nature of the regime. This is a regime that's willing to kill its own citizens, that will certainly have no compunctions about killing other peoples in the region, Jews and Sunni Arabs alike. On the other hand, we have to watch and see whether there's a breakdown of rule in Iran, whether a supposedly moderate leadership emerges, which would be welcome, but if that moderate regime does not moderate Iranian behavior, it would further complicate our situation.

  • Sidney Zion

    Yes, he was a jerk, and yes, you couldn't say things like, "Just put yourself in the shoes of a Palestinian for a second," without having him explode, and yes, he was mean even to people he liked, but Sid Zion, who died Sunday, is one of the reasons I wanted to be a reporter. I strongly suggest you dig up a copy of "Read All About It: The Collected Adventures of a Maverick Reporter." If it doesn't make you jealous of the reporter's life, then I don't know what to say to you; move to Hartford and become an insurance executive, maybe. 

  • It's Tough to be Orthodox, Well-Dressed and an Alleged Criminal

    Dina Wein Reiss, an alleged Orthodox scamster (not that there's a trend or anything), is out on bail now, waiting for her trial to begin next year. Via Tablet, Fortune reports that, after she was released, Reiss "enlisted her rabbi in her bid to convince a judge that she should not be required to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet. Orthodox practice, the rabbi said, forbids women from wearing slacks or pantsuits. Summer was coming, Wein Reis's lawyer noted, and any skirt or dress shorter than ankle length would reveal the bracelet, which would complicate her efforts to get a new job. The judge agreed."

  • Teddy Roosevelt on that Proto-Nazi Schmuck

    Seth Lipsky found this quote about Herr Ahlwardt, the German anti-Semite whose visit to New York in 1895 caused an uproar among the city's appropriately upset Jews. Apparently Roosevelt was ready for the controversial appearance:

    "While I was Police Commissioner an anti-Semitic preacher from Berlin, Rector Ahlwardt, came over to New York to preach a crusade against the Jews. Many of the New York Jews were much excited and asked me to prevent him from speaking and not to give him police protection. This, I told them, was impossible; and if possible would have been undesirable because it would have made him a martyr. The proper thing to do was to make him ridiculous. Accordingly I detailed for his protection a Jew sergeant and a score or two of Jew policemen. He made his harangue against the Jews under the active protection of some forty policemen, everyone of them a Jew! It was the most effective possible answer; and incidentally it was an object-lesson to our people, whose greatest need it is to learn that there must be no division by class hatred, whether this hatred be that of creed against creed, nationality against nationality, section against section, or men of one social or industrial condition against men of another social and industrial condition. . . . "
  • On the Controversy Over the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem

    Cliff May reports over at The Corner that the website of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem mentions nothing at all about Israel, and instead discusses various American-sponsored programs to aid Palestinians:

    Here's what you don't find -- at least not at this moment as I'm viewing the site: A word about Israel. Not a single one. No hint that Jerusalem is in Israel or that Israelis live there -- much less that it's Israel's capital.

    And while there is a link to an Arabic language version of the site, there is no link to a Hebrew version. What are we -- and what are Israelis -- to make of this? My column this week is on a related theme: the tendency of the Obama administration to "curry favor with our adversaries at the expense of our friends."  Or worse.

    There are two problems here: Cliff's insinuation that this has something to do with Obama; and his larger argument that the U.S. is ignoring Israel to its detriment. The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has for a very long while been devoted to managing American relations with the Palestinians; the American embassy in Tel Aviv -- embassy, not consulate, mind you -- is dedicated to relations with Israel and Israelis. Yes, there is a mention on the embassy website of Hillary Clinton's recent statement concerning American support for the Palestinians (not exactly a radical statement, by the way) and there are also links to sites that aid busineses that want to do business in Israel and that promote American-Israeli cultural events. (All the sites, by the way, are uninteresting, hard-to-navigate and generally crappy.)

    There is not much of a controversy here. It would, in the best of all possible worlds, be appropriate to see the American embassy relocated to West Jerusalem, though I would note that not even George W. Bush moved the embassy there when he had a chance.

  • Roger Cohen, Translated

    Roger Cohen's piece in The New York Times Magazine yesterday, on the making of Obama's Iran policy, is not easily understood, so I've run it through the Goldblog Insta-Translator. Here's what was spit out:

    The Making of an Iran Policy, by Roger Cohen

    Iran is going to get the Bomb. This is okay. Iran's government is not nice. They used to be nice, but not anymore. It doesn't matter. Israel wants to stop Iran from getting the Bomb. One thing is clear: Them Jews is crazy. They must be stopped. Dennis Ross works in the American government. But he's Jewish. Is he too Jewish to talk to Iran? Maybe. But he could make the Jews learn to love the Iranian bomb. It remains to be seen.

    The End
  • There Are Settlements, And Then There Are Settlements

    Yaacov Lozowick takes issue with Tom Friedman's Goldblog-supported argument about  settlements:

    A majority of us Israelis would walk away from the settlements in a heartbeat if there was anywhere to walk too. As recently as 2006 we elected Ehud Olmert on a specific platform to disband most of the settlements even without peace with the Palestinians, recognizing how the Palestinians have managed to turn the settlements into their most potent weapon against us. Moreoever, a majority of the settlers themselves would accept leaving some settlements if that would bring peace. (Starting with Avigdor Lieberman). But not Modi'in Illit, not Beitar, and not, I repeat, NOT Jerusalem. As President Bill Clinton recognized in his diktat of December 24th 2000. As the Palestinian negotiators themselves have recognized, repeatedly (though they may have been fibbing, since said recognition was part of not reaching overall agreement).

    Obama's credibility and support in Israel is plumetting because of that distinction. Not becasue he's being mean to our prime minster about Nokdim or Itamar. The more I hear (well, read) important American Jewish pundits such as these two talkng the way they do, the more I'm convinced one part of the present dynamic is the distance between American Jews and Israelis. We're really not seeing the same reality at the moment.
  • The Responsibilities of Police Officers

    From the Goldblog inbox:

    You write that you know almost certainly that Sgt. Crowley was trying to provoke Gates into being arrested. How can you be so sure? Aren't you being judgmental here? Do you have any idea what kind of pressure cops are under?

    To answer the first question, yes, I know what kind of pressure cops are under. Am I being judgmental? I don't think so. I haven't argued, by the way, that Crowley was motivated by racism (though in my experience, white cops sometimes seem to have a problem with black men who are more educated, and wealthier than they are -- but again, I don't know Crowley, so I can't say this is true for him).

    But coming back to the issue of the pressure cops feel, let me ask another question: Are cops aware of the immense power they have? The power to arrest someone is awesome; any cop, at any moment, can take temporarily take your freedom. Yes, there are courts to protect the rights of the innocent, but in the meantime, a police officer can still put handcuffs on you, shove you in the back of his vehicle, fingerprint you and lock you up for at least a couple of hours; and lock you up with some pretty mangy people if he so desires. That is real power, traumatizing power. Society grants police officers that power, but in exchange, we must expect certain things -- that the police officer granted this responsibility show more patience, more kindness, and better judgment than the average citizen. Which brings us back to the issue of Sgt. Crowley. Once he ascertained that Henry Louis Gates was the legal occupant of the house, it was Sgt. Crowley's responsibility to apologize, turn around and walk out. It does not matter at all whether Gates yelled at him, mocked him, got loud at him. It was Crowley's responsibility to understand why Gates could have been upset, and it was his responsibility to turn around and leave. Good police officers know how to control their tempers, and know enough to understand why someone might be upset with them. Crowley should have left the house.   

  • Is Madoff a Symbol of Jewish Exceptionalism?

    Alana Newhouse asks the right questions:

    The question is of Jewish exceptionalism, and it is, to understate it, a thorny one. Hitler designed an entire political philosophy--and attendant death machine--based on the belief that the answer to this question was a resounding "yes." But awkward as this may be, this is, from a different perspective, a view shared by many Jews themselves, like the man who sends me the same e-mail once a month about the number of Jews who have won Nobel Prizes. ("Remarkably, Jews constitute almost one-fifth of all Nobel laureates. This, in a world in which Jews number just a fraction of 1 percent of the population.") And it's not just kooks and your grandmother: Even liberal, assimilated Jews can't help but believe that there is something special--better, smarter--about their people. Except when their people show up in handcuffs on the news...
  • The Party's Over

    So says Tom Friedman in an important column:

    Here's what Israelis need to understand: President Obama is not some outlier when it comes to Israel. His call for a settlements freeze reflects attitudes that have been building in America for a long time. For the last 40 years, a succession of Israeli governments has misled, manipulated or persuaded naïve U.S. presidents that since Israel was negotiating to give up significant territory, there was no need to fight over "insignificant" settlements on some territory. Behind this charade, Israeli settlers bit off more and more of the West Bank, creating a huge moral, security and economic burden for Israel and its friends.
  • Love Me, I'm a Liberal

    Over at Shrinkwrapped, some criticism of my belief that there exists a cohort of Palestinian moderates with whom Israel can do business:

    Leaving aside the fact that the current Palestinians are spiritually indistinguishable from their predecessors, Jeffrey Goldberg makes the typical error of the well meaning liberal.  Liberals see the best in people at all times, even when the best does not appear obvious to any other observers.  For Jeffrey Goldberg and other liberals, it is an article of faith that Palestinian moderates exist.  I have a great deal of sympathy with this position, which I held for many years.  Tragically, this has proved to be an unwarranted assumption, for several reasons.


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