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.

  • 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."
  • Goldblog Special Good and Evil Edition

    A dissent from Goldblog reader Jon Ihle on David Wolpe's commentary:

     What Wolpe describes as the "essence of being human" are characteristics that we gained from eating of the tree of knowledge. Desire comes after the Fall. His explanation is therefore anachronistic and, ironically, reveals how allegorical the Torah really is: Adam and Eve have to be a representation of who we are "in essence", otherwise the story makes no sense. Yet the story says explicitly that they were some other kind of people, then they ate, then they became like us. A better question: why did God create the Tree knowing how he had created (or would create) Adam and Eve as he did (without knowledge of good and evil and, therefore, desire)? How much do we really learn about His decisions by pondering our own decisions?

  • A Challenge for Human Rights Watch

    From David Bernstein, who has been asking the hard questions:

    So, HRW acknowledges that it used its reporting on Israel and its battles with Israel's supporters as part of its pitch in Saudi Arabia. The only remaining question is how prominent this was. Given HRW's constant refrain that it believes in "transparency," HRW should release a transcript of the remarks made before the Saudi elites, or, better yet, a video. And while they're at it, how about releasing data on how much money comes from citizens of repressive regimes, how much of that money is earmarked, and for what?


  • Can a Gnome Be a Nazi? Can a Nazi Be a Gnome?

    Ha'aretz reports:

    "German prosecutors in Nuremberg have launched an investigation into whether an artist's gold-colored gnome giving a stiff-armed Hitler salute violates the country's strict laws against the use of Nazi symbols. The gnome, standing 35 centimeters (14 inches) tall, is one of 700 made by German artist Ottmar Hoerl that were displayed in Belgium and Italy. ... Giving the outlawed Hitler salute or using Nazi symbols is a crime in Germany punishable by up to three years in prison."

    Hoerl's defense: "I'd have been executed by the Nazis if I had portrayed the 'super race' as gnomes in 1942." Fair enough. 
    gnome.jpg


  • Sex Gum Has Been on the Market for Years

    Libido-boosting chewing gum is so 1997.

    It turns out that 12 years ago, Palestinian Supply Minister Abdel Aziz Shaheen accused Israel of selling strawberry-flavored gum laced with hormones that drove women "wild with desire" while simultaneously serving as a contraceptive -- so a lot of premarital sex that didn't even help procreation. Very genocidal. At the time, officials said that the packs of gum, decorated with stickers of Disney's Pocahontas exhibiting "sultry" expressions (because clearly cartoons for five-year-olds tempt young adults), were sold at "suspiciously low prices near schoolhouses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

    Can't the Israeli army think of something new? If any Goldblog readers have tasted said gum, please write in with your experiences. Or let me know if there's a sugar-free bubblemint variety.

  • Is This Why Jews Argue So Much?

    Rabbi David Wolpe's thought of the week:

    If God wished Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree in Eden, why create the tree?

    One among many possible answers: all real life is deciding. Wanting, weighing and choosing are the essence of being human. The fruit dangles from the tree, and even the choice not to decide is a decision.

    The essayist Gilbert Highet quotes "'a wise man' who said the Greeks' greatest legacy to the world's welfare was 'on the one hand and on the other hand.'" The constant weighing of options can be maddening; after listening to his advisors offer him conflicting economic advice Harry Truman burst out in frustration, "Can someone get me a one handed economist!" Of course not. If there were one choice, one path, vitality would be drained from the world. The gift of possibility entails arguing, failing, reevaluating, feeling the constant frustrating yearning to do better.

    God could have fashioned a garden without a tree. Eve and Adam would never have eaten and never have left. Eden would be their permanent, perfect address. It would have been a beautiful place to exist. But it would have been no place to live.

  • So a Baptist from Oklahoma Walks into a Mosque...

    The U.S. military is placing American religious mentors throughout the Afghan National Army with the task of encouraging the troops to exaggerate their adherence to Islam -- an unusual effort that has led people like James Hill, a "baby-faced" 27-year-old from Oklahoma, to befriend a 51-year-old mullah who has never shaved, and do things like give soldiers prayer rugs to distribute in villages and set up loudspeakers on checkpoints so locals can hear soldiers being called to prayer.

    The theory behind this plan is that if nearby villagers realize that their country's army is, in fact, Muslim, then they will be more likely to support it instead of Taliban insurgents, who regularly ride through isolated villages on motorcycles, "spreading the word that the Afghan army is led by godless communists working to urge the country of Islam."

  • On Human Rights Watch's Saudi Fundraising

    Goldblog reader P.F. writes, in a hostile though respectful e-mail:

    "Are you suggesting in your criticism of Human Rights Watch that its officials shouldn't talk to Arab audiences about Israel?"

    No! Of course not. What I'm suggesting is that they shouldn't fund-raise in Arab countries, especially un-free Arab countries -- by bragging about their opposition to Israel, and by invoking the greatest bogeyman of all, the Jewish lobby. It's just so tacky it's hard to believe Ken Roth, the group's director, would ever endorse this practice. It's absolutely fine for Human Rights Watch to talk to Arab audiences about the universe of its work (it would have been nice, of course, if Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, had seen fit to mention, you know, beheadings in front of her Saudi audience), but perhaps there should be a rule that Human Rights Watch not raise funds in its main target countries. I would argue that Human Rights Watch shouldn't raise funds in Israel, either. Imagine if one of the group's fund-raisers got up before an audience in Tel Aviv and bragged about how tough her group has been on Saudi Arabia. You can just imagine the outcry in the Arab world. 

  • Esther Klein's Brooklyn Porno Adventure

    Don't you hate it when you go to your local library to rent a copy of "Austin Powers" for your barely Bar Mitzvahed-grandchildren, only to find that someone has recorded porn over the end credits?

    This sad series of events happened to Brooklyn grandmother Esther Klein, and when she realized that some putz foiled her plan for an evening of wholesome family fun, she contacted a higher being, Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Hikind, who was "fuming" over the incident -- I know him, he's very good at fuming -- blamed the local library, calling it a potentially "unsafe" place for "young children" and demanding the banning of VHS tapes, or something.

    Not to belittle this problem, but if Esther Klein is anything like the 3,000 or so bubbies in Brooklyn I know, she really wasn't that fazed. You can't live in Brooklyn and be upset by much. My own late dear grandmother Cyd, who spent 89 or so of her years in Brooklyn, would have laughed. I was once with her in Brighton Beach buying herring from the Russians, and right in front of us, four police cars screeched to a stop, multiple police officers jumped out, guns drawn, and emptied a Cadillac of four or five hookers and a man I assume was their pimp. There was a great deal of cursing and yelling. It was an enormous spectacle. My grandmother was oblivious. I asked her what she thought of the events that had just unfolded before our eyes. She said: "I think the store across the street has the Bismarck herring."

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The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

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