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.

  • Tweeting at the Western Wall

    Or to the Western Wall, I should say:

    A new Web site offers those seeking to have their prayers answered a chance to "Tweet at the Kotel." The non-profit service, launched two weeks ago, allows people to submit their prayers or wishes, which are then printed on small notes and placed in the wall's cracks. Through other services, it is already possible to send notes via fax, email and text messages to the Western Wall.

    Me, when I'm writing to a big rock like the Western Wall, I like to write long (it's my magazine training, I guess) and quote a lot from the sources, to show God, who reads the notes the very same night (or so I'm told) that I'm keeping up on my Jewish learning. But how to quote the Bible in so short a space? Twitter only allows 140 characters. The Christian Bible has some short, pithy lines -- the best, of course, being, "Jesus wept." But Jesus isn't weeping at the Western Wall, so I asked David Wolpe, the Chief Rabbi of Goldblog, for some similarly short passages I could tweet to the Wall. This is what he came up with: "Let there be light." He pointed out that in Hebrew, it's only two words.

  • A Note About The Atlantic

    From the Times:

    mag interest.jpg

    I agree with the advertisers who think that The Atlantic is a great magazine. And I should say -- because it doesn't get said on the editorial side very often -- that I appreciate the people who sell advertising for our magazine in this adverse climate. They help support some very good journalism. In other words, they're on a mission from God. And you, Goldblog readers, can get right with God by subscribing to The Atlantic, here. Subscribing doesn't guarantee you a place in heaven, but it can't hurt.
  • Are Birthers the New 9/11 Truthers?

    Bob Cohn recently tweeted the idea (I can't believe I just wrote that) that the new hip nutjobs are the birthers, and compared them to the now-out creationists. I get the point, but the more appropriate comparison might be to the 9/11 "truth" movement. Creationists don't believe in conspiracies; they just believe that dinosaurs are 5,000 years old. Birthers and 9/11 truthers (or, alternatively, "birfers" and "troofers") both believe that the government is out to get us. 

  • McKinsey Draft Report on Rethinking Conde Nast

    Conde Nast recently hired McKinsey and Co. to "rethink" the magazine business after a year of advertising turmoil.  I've managed to get my hands on a draft memo written by one senior McKinsey consultant after his first three days at 4 Times Square. Here are excerpts:

    To: Chuck Townsend, CEO, Conde Nast
    From: McKinsey and Co.

     In the interest of vertical interconnectivity and maximum impactfulness, we just wanted to share some of our initial observations/questions with you. We hope these don't seem too obvious:

    1. The role of writers in the magazine production process seems worthy of examination. What do they do? Why are there so many?
    2. Some of the writers -- we're thinking Jon Lee Anderson, George Packer, William Lagewishe Langeswishce Langewiesche -- spend a lot of money traveling to foreign countries such as Afghanistan and Baghdad. The Week covers these countries at a fraction of your cost. Could The Week be a model for your news coverage?
    3. Old Sushi. Could the cafeteria's uneaten sushi be used for Gourmet photo shoots?
    4. Has the company considered using the World Wide Web as a platform for its magazines? "Weblogs" and other websites could then "link" to Conde Nast articles. This would surely generate significant advertising income.
    5.  Two words: Salon dinners.
    6. Does Big Apple use pedicabs as well as Town Cars? Might be worthwhile for short trips.
    7. Is "A. Leibovitz" the accounting code for a corporate jet?
    8. We enjoy The New Yorker, but could you make it more like Cookie? Also, is Sasha Frere-Jones a black woman or a white male? Not sure who to look for in the cafeteria.
    9. In re: Central services efficiencies, could Wired editors staff the "Help Desk"? Might be big downstream upside here.
    10. Whatever happened to Dan Baum? He was a good writer.
    11. We think Graydon Carter was mocking us in our first meeting. Not sure. Could you check?
    12.  We're having difficulty making Anna Wintour talk to us. Is there something you could do about this?
  • Michael Oren on Zionism and the Diaspora Jewish Experience

    My interview with Michael Oren, the new Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., was quite lengthy (but fascinating throughout!), so I've broken it up (actually, Goldblog Deputy Managing Editor for Transcription Tali Yahalom has broken it up) into smaller pieces, and by topic.  Below is our exchange on Zionism and the American Jewish experience.

    Jeffrey Goldberg: Do you think that the Jews who stayed in America, who didn't pick up and move to Israel, are living in exile today? Do you think of this country as a form of exile for Jewish people?

    Michael Oren: No. ... The Zionist movement, as it was conceived in the 19th century, and as it was formulated by the founder of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, never came to grips with the realities of American Jewry. American Jewry didn't fit the Zionist paradigm. In the Zionist paradigm, Jews cannot become major figures in a government; they can't have more than a minyan in Congress, or in the Senate -- that would be inconceivable. To be a powerful Jew in a Zionist universe, you have to become an apostate. You have to be an Israeli.

    JG: Is the American Jewish experience, then, a reproach or a critique in a way of this Zionist idea? I mean, Herzl ignored American Jewry because he couldn't explain American Jewry. So is the fact that American Jews, that Jews in America, have found a kind of promised land in a Christian majority country, does that mean that the Jewish state is somewhat superfluous?

    MO: No, it means that it forms an alternate utopia for the Jewish people. And just as Zionism never came to grips with American Jewry, American Jewry never came to grips with the Zionist experiment. I'll give you a personal example: in the 90s, the then-president of the state of Israel, Ezer Weizman ... decided to hold a conference of the Jewish people at the president's house when he became the president of Israel. And he gathered Jewish leaders from around the world and he offered them a deal. He said 'Let's make a new covenant.' And the covenant would be based on two concessions: the Diaspora Jewish leaders would agree that aliyah, moving to Israel, constituted a possible solution for Jewish continuity. The Zionist state, the state of Israel, would have to recognize that life in the Diaspora was a legitimate choice for Jews. The two sides sat, debated for three days and, in the end, neither would agree to these concessions. There was no concession.

    So the two utopias exist side-by-side and, over the years, we have developed a more or less confluent and peaceful interaction with one another. And at the end of the day, we find that we really need one another. Israel needs the political and economic support of American Jewry, and American Jewry increasingly needs the spiritual infusion of the Jewish state. ... In recent years, we have found that a 10-day visit to the state of Israel by American Jewish youth does more for Jewish identity than seven years in Hebrew school. In fact, seven years in Hebrew school, as one poll shows, does some damage to Jewish identity.

    JG: I'm looking at my 12-year-old daughter.

    MO: She's nodding furiously.

    JG: But you're supposed to hate Hebrew school. People don't understand that. That's part of the American Jewish experience.

    MO: In order to get us to Hebrew school, my parents used to give us a dollar, which in those days could buy a lot of candy, so you'd stop off, you'd buy the Milk Duds, you'd buy the jujubes, and then you'd sit there and have ADHD attacks while this guy was trying to teach you the alphabet.

    JG: No wonder you couldn't read Hebrew.

    MO: We need each other.

  • Hezbollah: We Do What Iran Says

    Despite unleashing a global wave of controversy and criticism -- and political turmoil in the region -- Iran continues to draw loyal support from Hezbollah, which not only "subscribes to that nation's ideology of theocratic leadership" but also accepts the conduct and outcome of last month's elections. As such, "the outcome of current debates there over the way theocratic authority is wielded, and the secular question of how Iran should manage its external relations, is sure to reverberate inside Lebanon." Sheikh Naim Qassem, the militant group's second-in-command, told the Christian Science Monitor that Hezbollah looks to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's hard-line supreme leader, for religious rules and sets the guidelines for the party's general political performance.

    Other than that, Hezbollah is an authentic Lebanese resistance group.

  • "Loud and Tumultuous Behavior"

    Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,is arrested in his own home in Cambridge by police, who then accuse him of "loud and tumultuous behavior." Let's see -- if the police were arresting me in my own house -- for breaking and entering into my own house -- I might become both loud and tumultuous. Word fail when you read stories like this. I'm sure Pat Buchanan will be on television tomorrow arguing that it wasn't, in fact, Gates' house.

  • Will It Ever Be Okay to Dress like a Nazi?

    Today marks the 65th anniversary of Operation Valkyrie, so it is fitting that Radu Mazare, the 41-year-old mayor of Constanta, Romania, went with his son to see the eponymous film, which features Tom Cruise as the unsuccessful Hitler assassin. Here's the twist: father and son left feeling so inspired that both decided to wear Nazi uniforms to a Romanian fashion show and goose-step on the runway over the weekend. Mazare is not sure why people are outraged, or why some are calling for an investigation of his eligibility to be mayor. Perhaps he should have worn an eyepatch.
    crazy runway.jpg


  • Wash, Rinse, Look How Weird Hands Are

    JPost reports:

    Haifa police on Monday arrested four people on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 1,000 ecstasy pills in a shampoo bottle. The bottle arrived at the Haifa customs offices, and when one of the suspects came to pick it up, he was arrested. His three alleged accomplices were subsequently detained. 

    One question: is Pocahontas featured on the bottle? If so, watch out.


  • More on the KKK vs. Hebrew All-Stars Baseball Game

    A belated follow-up to my post a while back on the world's strangest baseball game, the one between the Hebrew All-Star Nines and the Ku Klux Klan. Goldblog Special Baseball Correspondent Joshua Miller looked into the game further and found that one of its more curious aspects -- could the "Povich" listed on the Hebrew squad as playing right-field have been the great sportswriter (and father of Maury) Shirley Povich? -- has a most interesting answer. It turned out that this particular Povich was Shirley's brother, Abe. But more on him in a second.

    It also turns out that the September, 1926 game between the Hebrews and the Klan wasn't the only time Abe Povich played against an anti-Semitic group.  Larry Povich, one of Abe's sons, reports that he was often told about a game against a group of racists that the Hebrews actually won. After the last out, the opposing team turned serious and the Hebrews -- especially Abe's friend and teammate, Vinney the catcher -- began to worry. "They felt that they were in trouble because he said [the racists] had picked up their bats at, what they thought was, an inappropriate time. And they were coming after them," Larry said. Turns out the white supremacists were sore losers.

    "It's very vivid in my mind in terms of how I imagine Vinney getting in this old truck, firing it up as they had to do in those days, and driving across a field on the mall, not too far from the Lincoln Memorial," Larry recalled. "The story that stuck in my mind was dad running across the infield towards the outfield and Vinney sweeping through the field picking up the Jewish guys -- dad and the other players on their team -- who were being chased the racists."

    His family remembers Abe, who died in 1991, as an extraordinary athlete from an early age. He was an all-state player in high school in baseball, basketball and football, even though he only stood 5'3". When he moved to Washington, D.C., as a young man in the early 1920s, he joined a number of club teams and was a huge baseball enthusiast. "He often went to spring training with Uncle Shirley," Larry remembered, "and mom didn't expect to see him until after spring training." Beyond being remembered as a great athlete, Abe's family recalled him as a very good man. "My father was an expansive, magnanimous person who was always willing to help somebody out," Ron Povich, Abe's other son, said.

    But his athleticism was one of his defining characteristics. Even after he lost his youthful ability to play football and baseball, Ron said, he was still an expert sportsman, bowling and playing golf long into his retirement. "It was legendary that he was such a fine athlete," Maury Povich said. "And my father Shirley insisted, even after watching Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and Sammy Baugh, and all the great athletes for 75 years, that the best athlete he ever saw was his brother Abe."

  • America's Newest Weapon is Tryptophan

    I'm trying to unpack the message of this cartoon, published last week in the Palestinian Authority's newspaper of record, Falastin. The point of the cartoon is that the Palestinians are being lulled into complacence by Barack Obama's soothing words. But what does the turkey mean? After considering the options, I've come to think that the turkey symbolizes tryptophan, a chemical that induces sleep and which is apparently found in turkey in great quantities. But I don't know. Any ideas?
    cartoon.jpg


  • When Stereotypes Prove True

    Omri Casspi slights baba ghanouj:

    The first Israeli in the N.B.A., Omri Casspi, is busily trying to adapt to life in the United States.
    For starters, he needs a cellphone with a local number. He just received a $4,500 bill for about two weeks of calls, which is expensive even by N.B.A. standards. He needs new chargers for all his gadgets. But he is struggling most to find comfort food.

    "Hummus," Casspi said, with a hard h and a long u, stressing the first syllable in a way that conveyed utter seriousness. "You don't have that here, though."

    A reporter insisted that the chickpea spread is widely available in grocery stores in the United States, but Casspi -- who was drafted last month by the Sacramento Kings -- smiled dismissively.

    "Man, I tried it; that's all I can say," he said last week during a break in the Kings' summer league schedule. "I will bring some from Israel, maybe. I'll let you taste it and you tell me."

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