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.

  • Urgent Hi-Lo Poker Update

    Thanks to the 150 or so people who wrote in about my poker dilemma (Read the original post here for explanation). I'm not only sharing the e-mails that argue my side (my side being the side that says I should have won three-quarters of the pot) but most correspondents thought that since I tied the low hand, I should have won the three-quarters. I've gathered some responses down below, starting with one from my friend and mentor, Seth Lipsky, who naturally ruled against me: "You lost, alas," he wrote."If you swing (i.e., declare both high and low) you can't tie in either direction. It's as old as poker."

    Other readers came down on my side. Josh Chrisman: "My poker playing friends and I have encountered the same question.  (One of the benefits of playing poker with engineers is that they insist on having rules for every conceivable outcome, no matter how unlikely.) Our answer is that a tie for high or low is acceptable if you have declared both.  At our table you would receive three quarters of the pot, and the person with the other straight would receive one quarter. I have no official rule to offer you; just the wisdom of one crowd."

    David Magilner: "You won the low, so you win half the pot.  You tied the high hand, so you split the other half of the pot with the other straight.  Not sure if this is 'official,' but it's the way we've played for years.  Think if you had just declared "high:"  you would have split the pot with the other straight...

    From Andrew Schuering: "I think that if you both had a-5 straights you would treat it as a split pot on the high side.  Meaning in this scenario you would win 3/4s of the pot. I know that is the common practice in online high-low games (admittedly in the ones I have played you don't have declare). I guess I would sum up the reason for this as follows... You do have the best hand.  Sure you may tie the other best hand but that doesn't mean your hand is not also the best."

    From Eric Lin: "Easy answer. You get 3/4 pot.  You get the low half, and you split the high half. Of course, home game rules vary, but that's the general rule.  Next time, forget the "declare" -- cards speak."

    And this, from Lee Novak: "I had to laugh when I saw your post on seven card high/low poker. I've been watching/playing nickel/dime poker with my dad's family my entire life. And the only people I've ever seen play seven card high/low is my Jewish family. Some of my fondest memories are watching my 90+ year old bubbie (now passed) wearing a green plastic visor and saying, 'Oy, these cards. You should deal in jail.' So I checked with the experts on this (and also asked about the Jewish connection to 7 card high/low). My parents who continue to play weighed in as follows: Mom: "It is a winner take all answer--no ties;. Jewish people use high/low as opposed to drinking!' Dad: "Tie doesn't win! His friends were right."

    I'll post more responses later.

  • Since When Do You Guys Consider Yourself White?

    One of many e-mails I've received about Max Blumenthal's video. I don't post these sorts of e-mails in order to excoriate Max Blumenthal for fomenting anti-Semitism, but because anti-Semitism on the Web is a phenomenon that needs to be highlighted and fought. This from a man whose name I'm withholding, because why give him the satisfaction?

    A few question for you:

    1) Since when you guys consider yourself white?

    2) Why should I, a tax paying American citizen, should pay for these scumbags in Jizzrael?

    3) Haven't we decided to kick Jizzrael to the curb VIOLENTLY to get rid of this degenerate scum sucking nation once and for all?

    4) Did you see that fat Jewish cunt, a political science major, not knowing who the prime minister of Jizzrael is? there goes the myth for importance of education among Jizzraelites no? the stupidity of Jizzraelites are mind boggling.

    5) Tell me seriously, why we shouldn't implement royalty oaths for anyone with a remote affinity to Jizzrael?

    6) Shouldn't we unceremoniously deport anyone with Jizzrael's passport?

    The moment of truth is upon us Goldberg.

  • Ahmadinejad and Israel's Best Interests (Cont'd)

    Aluf Benn criticizes those Israeli leaders who think that Ahmadinejad is a kind of blessing for their country:

    The claim of pro-Ahmadinejad Israelis goes like this: The president in Iran is a puppet of the real powers - the religious leaders, led by Ayatollah Khamenei. Iran's nuclear plans have advanced and will continue no matter who is president and what that person's positions are. Therefore, it is better for us that Iran's most prominent spokesperson to be a Holocaust-denier who threatens to destroy Israel; that way it will be easier to garner support from around the world for pressure on Iran.

    To understand how baseless this approach is, it is enough to look at what has happened over the four years of Ahmadinejad's rule. The Iranian nuclear project has crossed the "technological threshold" and reached the capability to independently manufacture enriched uranium without really being bothered from abroad except for hollow sanctions. During this period, Israel enjoyed a loving relationship with the Bush administration and a reasonable relationship with Europe, yet did not manage to get the international community on board to stop the centrifuges in Natanz. Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran's allies, armed themselves uninterrupted.
  • Mossad Head: Ahmadinejad Good for Israel

    Meir Dagan, supreme cynic, tells a Knesset committee that the demonstrations in Iran will cease in the coming days, and a good thing, too, because Ahmadinejad is an easy foe to explain to the world:

    "The reality in Iran is not going to change because of the elections. The world and we already know [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. If the reformist candidate [Mir Hossein] Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived internationally arena as a moderate element...It is important to remember that he is the one who began Iran's nuclear program when he was prime minister."

    I understand his point, and yet am repulsed by it at the same time, perhaps because I care mainly about which Iranians have the bomb, rather than whether Iran has the bomb. Maybe this is naive -- and maybe I'm caught up, as a suspected neocon fellow traveler, in the excitement of watching Middle Easterners attempting to free themselves from such an obviously tyrannical regime -- but I have to think that the people flooding the streets in protest are not the sort of people who would want to see their country enter a nuclear confrontation with Israel. Not, God forbid, because they like Israel, but because they're rational enough, and interested enough in the betterment of their own lives, to demand a government that puts a limit on Iran's foreign adventures. I recognize that the people of Iran do not currently shape their country's nuclear policy -- and their country's policies to Israel and the West -- but one can hope for better days, when they do.

  • Are Anti-Semitic Attacks on the Rise?

    The Holocaust Museum shooting last week led many people, including me, to think that we're seeing an uptick in the tempo of violent anti-Jewish attacks in America. We're certainly not in a situation analogous to that of Venezuela or France, and I would caution against overheating -- after all, no country in the history of the world has been as accepting of Jews as America has -- but the combination of white, right-wing fury, and Islamist rage is a nasty one. Here's a partial list of the anti-Semitic events of the past ten years. Judge for yourself whether this means anything:

    August 10, 1999: Buford Furrow Jr., a 46-year-old white supremacist on parole for assault with a deadly weapon, opened fire with a semiautomatic in the North Valley Jewish community center in California. Two six-year-old boys, a 16-year-old girl, and the receptionist were injured and a five-year-old boy was severely wounded.

    April 28, 2000: Richard Baumhammers killed his Jewish neighbor, Anita Gordon, in a suburban area of Pittsburgh beginning a killing spree fueled by anti-Semitic beliefs.  Five individuals were killed and one victim was left paralyzed.


    September 30, 2000: A rabbi and his wife were attacked in Brooklyn, New York while one of the attackers yelled, "this is for the Palestinians".

    May 5, 2002: The Beth Jacob Congregation synagogue in Oakland, California sustains thousands of dollars in damage after an arson sets fire to the building in at least three places.

    November 18, 2003: The Candles Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, was destroyed by a vicious arson.  The museum is run by Holocaust survivors and is dedicated to memorializing the Holocaust and remembering the children used for brutal medical experimentation.

    October 15, 2005: Cameron Mathews and Josh Feinerman were attacked outside a pizza parlor in San Francisco.  Andrew Crawford brutally attacked after the boys responded to his anti-Semitic comments. He was arrested while kicking an already unconscious Feinerman.

    July 28, 2006: Naveed Aflaz Haq opened fire at the Jewish Federation in Seattle, Washington.  Five were wounded and the assistant director, Pamela Waechter, was killed.  Haq was a 30-year-old man of Pakistani decent who claimed he was "angry at Israel".

    December 7, 2007: Four Jewish students riding the New York trains were violently attacked by a group of men and women upon hearing their Happy Hanukkah wishes to one another.  Hassan Askari, a Muslim, came to their aid.

    February 1, 2007:  Noble Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel was stalked and attacked at a conference San Francisco by Eric Hunt, 22.  Hunt boasted of the attacks on web forums dedicated to Holocaust denial.

    April 30, 2007: Scotts Valley High School in San Francisco was closed for the day after the discovery of a non explosive device appearing to be a pipe bomb along with anti-Semitic graffiti.

    December 29, 2008: Temple Sholom, one of the oldest synagogues in Chicago, was attacked with a Molotov cocktail.  

    April 12, 2008: Two men in North Hollywood attacked an Orthodox Jewish man wearing a kippah.  They beat the 59-year-old man while calling him "dirty Jew".

    March 17, 2008: The home of Yossi Knafo, the Jewish Agency for Israel's representative in Providence, Rhode Island, was attacked with two Molotov cocktails.  No one was injured, but the house sustained damage.

    April 6, 2009: Richard Poplawski, 23, killed three police officers in his Pittsburgh home when they responded to a call from his mother.  He is strongly linked to white supremacist websites.  

    May 6, 2009: Wesleyan University student Johanna Justin-Jinich, 21, was killed while working at a bookstore near campus. Stephen Morgan, 29, wrote violent anti-Semitic views and "I have to kill Jen" in his journals before shooting Justin-Jinich at close range, disguised in a wig. He was arrested two days later.

    July 10, 2009: James Von Brunn, an 88 year old white supremacist and author of the radical anti-Semitic online book entitled "Kill the Best Gentiles!", opened fire at the Holocaust Museum of Washington, DC. Security Guard Stephen Tyrone Johns, 39, is killed.

    More »

  • Dick Durbin, Savvy Investor

    In my recent cover story for this magazine (you can subscribe to it and read it on high-quality paper!), I wrote about the great divide in personal finance between them that know and them that don't. I realized that I was in the category of them that don't know. In other words, there are people in America -- very few of them -- who are privy to real-time information about the true state of individual equities, and mutual funds. The rest of us, I argued, are just guessing when we invest.

    Well, count Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the number-two Democrat in the Senate, of being in the "them that know" category:

    As U.S. stock markets plummeted last September, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, sold more than $115,000 worth of stocks and mutual-fund shares and used much of the money to invest in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

    The Illinois senator's 2008 financial disclosure statement shows he sold mutual-fund shares worth $42,696 on Sept. 19, the day after then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urged congressional leaders in a closed meeting to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks. The same day, he bought $43,562 worth of Berkshire Hathaway's Class B stock, the disclosure shows.

    To be fair, he didn't know everything -- he was probably smart to get out of mutual funds, but his investment in Berkshire Hathaway's Class B stock hasn't worked that well for him, having dropped in value fairly precipitously since September.

  • Is Dennis Ross In or Out at State?

    Can't tell. Ha'aretz started the rumor-mongering, but nothing definitive forthcoming from State today; he's working in the building, the spokesman sez. The only semi-definite thing I've picked up is that if he moves, he's moving to the White House. Ambinder has the best round-up.

  • A Completely Not Important Poker Question

    The other night, at my regular game, we were playing seven-card high-low. I had a very good hand -- ace, two, three, four, five, seven, plus a stray jack. I decided to declare both high and low (when the hands are complete, each remaining player declares whether he's going to play his high cards or his low cards -- the perfect low being an ace, 2,3,4 and six.) I had a great low, plus a straight, so I declared both high and low. There were two others still in the game; one declared high, the other low. So I was competing against both. The prize was the entire pot (which by then was in the tens of dollars), but if either the low or the high beat my hand, I would lose everything. I would win the entire pot, of course, and not split it, if I won.

    When we showed our cards, my low beat the other player's low, but my high hand -- a straight -- matched exactly the hand of the player who went high. We had never seen this before, and we were flummoxed. We turned to the Intertubes, but couldn't find an answer there. Eventually, the table decided that in order for me to have won the hand, I would have had to beat, and not merely, tie, both remaining players. The question out there is: What is the actual rule? Is there such a thing as a tie? Please send me your responses to goldberg.atlantic@gmail.com. Please, no e-mails telling us to stick to Texas Hold 'em.

  • Vaclav Havel on Iran

    From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:

    "...Certainly there are many ways to isolate this regime, through various embargoes for example. They should be measures that are clearly not directed against the people but against this form of government. And at the same, expressions of solidarity with those who are defending human rights, with students and others, are important. In general, oil should not be more important than human rights."
  • What Constitutes a "Decent Interval" for Iran Outreach?

    A Goldblog reader writes:

    Roger Cohen says, "In the name of the millions defrauded, President Obama's outreach (to the Iranian regime) must now await a decent interval." My question is, what would be a decent interval?

    Good question. Perhaps six hours for every thousand votes stolen, or two days for every demonstrator killed. Walt and Mearsheimer must hand out some sort of formula for this kind of thing at Realist Summer Camp.

  • An Enemy of the World

    Michael Totten:

    The Islamic Republic regime in Iran is vividly revealing itself as an enemy of the entire world.

    "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei's police and the Basij militia are using violence and terror to suppress the Iranian people at home. His terrorist proxies fire missiles at Israel while torturing, maiming, and murdering Palestinians. He sponsored a violent coup d'etat against the elected government in Beirut last year with his Hezbollah militia. He sponsors a terrorist insurgency against the elected government of Iraq, while his fanatical proxies shoot and kill American soldiers. A car bomb cell belonging to the regime's Lebanese franchise was recently arrested in Azerbaijan, and more cells were rolled up in Egypt. Terrorists sponsored and encouraged by him and his predecessor, Ruhollah Khomeini, have murdered civilians from Argentina to Japan.


  • Time for An Obama Speech?

    Stephen Hayes thinks so:

    He does not need to call openly for an uprising, but he should be taking the accounts of reporters and our intelligence operatives in Iran and broadcasting them to the world. He should be amplifying the voices of the Iranians who have, once again, been deprived of any say in how they will be governed, and using them to pressure the Iranian regime at a time when it is plainly very fragile.

    History teaches us (see: Carter, Jimmy) that it's important to line up with the Iranian people, not against them. Now is the moment.

  • Ahmadinejad's American Apologist

    Flynt Leverett, formerly of the National Security Council, compares the "election" in Iran to the 2000 recount in Florida:

    Look at the irregularities Mousavi is citing now: that they ran out of ballot paper in some polling precincts, that they did not keep some polls open long enough. There is no way such things could change the overall outcome which is clearly in favor of Ahmadinejad. If you compare this to the flaws of the presidential election in Florida in 2000, it seems very insignificant.
  • On the Tragic Nationals

    I've taken my eight-year-old son to a bunch of Nationals (16-45) games, and he's never seen them win once. I worry that this will cause him to stop liking baseball (though he's had a good season on the Northwest Little League AA Red Sox, where his batting average is, as best as I can tell, .915).

    In the Post today, John Feinstein asks the obvious question: Why are the Nats holding on to Manager Manny Acta? It's a question I've asked many times myself. Here's Feinstein:

    There are plenty of reasons to keep Acta, a couple of reasons to fire him.

    The reasons to keep him are evident every day. He's a class act; he's a bright, young baseball guy managing a young team. His players like him, and they show up every day and really try to play for him, albeit not very well. If Acta is fired now, you can bet he's going to get another managing job down the road, and there's a very good chance he'll be a success.

    So why fire him? Because sometimes in sports you have to make change for the sake of change. One can almost feel the "here we go again" sense the players have in the late innings night after night. Most nights they know there are two guarantees: It's going to rain, and they're going to find some way to lose either by bullpen implosion or some horrible defensive gaffe.
  • J.C. Doesn't Want Israel to be a Jewish State

    I guess this isn't surprising:


    "In my opinion, Netanyahu brought up several obstacles to peace in his speech that others before him have not placed," Carter told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

    "He insists on settlement expansion, demands that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state even though 20% of Israel's citizens are not Jews," the former US president said.

    So long as he agrees that Palestine shouldn't be a state for the Palestinians, I guess it doesn't really matter.

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