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.

  • Sullivan, Froomkin, Hiatt, Iran and AIPAC

    The incipient Iranian revolution has upset certain political categories at home, two to be exact: Scowcroftian realism and liberal interventionism (a/k/a neoconservatism). Both, IMHO, are inadequate to the current crisis. The bloodcurdling scenes of oppression on the streets of Teheran betray the limits of cold-hearted realism as an American doctrine: It is not who we are, to stand idly by. Realists believe that power, and power only, has salience in international relations, but American conceptions of right and wrong clearly do as well, and always have.

    On the other side of the ledger, it seems as if some neoconservatives are demanding that Barack Obama do more than he's doing simply because that's what we Americans are supposed to do: More. This seems like an unwise strategy; the smartest strategy would be to follow the lead of the Iranian protesters. If they seem to need more American moral support, or other kinds of support, then we should reconsider. But Obama's strategy so far seems basically correct: He probably could give more direct and enthusiastic rhetorical support to the demonstrators than he's been giving, precisely because he's Barack Obama and could get away with it. But the idea that we should rush in and do something makes little sense at the moment. The overarching goal is to see the birth of a democratic Iran, not to make ourselves feel good, or get in the way.

    That said, the liberal interventionist/neoconservative position is the easier one to understand, because it is the more human response. This has been my colleague Andrew Sullivan's basic response.  He's done a phenomenal job of covering the chaos in Iran, but every so often he feels a need to throw an elbow at neoconservatives and at AIPAC, for no apparent reason, except to distance himself from people who, in the main, would like to see Ahmadinejad, to borrow a phrase, wiped off the map, just as Andrew would. Such was the case yesterday, when Andrew responded to the firing of Dan Froomkin, the liberal Washington Post.com columnist, by writing, among other things, that "maybe the quality of (Froomkin's) free-lancing was showing up the hackneyed AIPAC boilerplate they publish every day on their op-ed page." He went on to write, in reference to Froomkin's recent argument with Charles Krauthammer about torture, "Exposing the torture-monger Krauthammer would almost certainly have enraged (editorial page editor Fred) Hiatt. They look after their own the neocons."

     For the record, I like Froomkin's column, read it often, and am sorry to see it go, but I don't know what this controversy has to do with Krauthammer (with whom Sullivan is in fundamental agreement on the righteousness and importance of the Iranian revolution) and I certainly don't know what this has to do with AIPAC, which, as far as I can tell, hasn't lobbied the Hill on this current Iran crisis and hasn't issued any statements at all about it. I think Andrew's attacks on Fred Hiatt, neoconservatives and AIPAC are a manifestation of the aforementioned category confusion. In any case, since I can't figure out Andrew's post, I asked Fred Hiatt if he could. He sent me this response:

    "It is so incoherent, it's hard to know how to comment. But I will try. He says I was acting on neocon orders when we published a piece suggesting that Ahmadinejad may have actually had popular support. But elsewhere I am being attacked for publishing ostensibly neocon pieces criticizing Obama for not supporting Ahmadenejad's opposition. It's hard to see how both could be true.

    I had forgotten until today that Dan (Froomkin) had gone after Charles (Krauthammer), which Sullivan says 'almost certainly' would have 'enraged' me. If Andrew wants to know whether it enraged me, why does he not call and ask? That's called reporting, and I would be happy to tell him. In fact nothing pleases me more than when our columnists engage with each other, in print or on Post Partisan, as any of them could tell you. It's good for traffic, and it makes for lively debate.

    The disappointingly dull truth is that the decision not to renew Dan's contract--which was not made by me, but which I supported--was based on viewership data, budget constraints and judgments about how well the column was or was not adapting to a new era."

     I'm guessing Andrew will probably have a response to Hiatt's criticism.

  • Those Pesky Zionists

    Ayatollah Khamenei blames "media belonging to Zionists, evil media" for stirring up the demonstrators in Iran. And I've been told that neoconservative Zionists are supporting Ahmadinejad. Man, Zionists are busy. By the way, for a proper definition of Zionist, see here

  • In Memory of Stephen T. Johns

    Several Goldblog readers have asked for information about the possibility of making donations to a fund for Stephen T. Johns' family. Here is a link to one such fund. Johns' funeral is today. A special section of the church has been reserved for Holocaust survivors. The heart breaks. 

  • DNA Tests and Hidden Jews

    Rachel Lehmann-Haupt reports that DNA testing is helping people discover their Jewish ancestry. I think I'm going to take one of these tests. I've long suspected that I'm Jewish, and I'd like to find out once and for all.

  • Another Fascinating Letter

    What makes people think like this? I'm not asking rhetorically. I really want to know. What makes people blame Jews for everything that goes wrong in the world?

    To the jew Goldberg,
     
    Hi. I was just reading your Goldblog piece on those who insist that the world economy is controlled by Jews, and that Tim Geithner is a Jew. As a matter of fact I was one who googled 'Geithner Jew' to see if he was one, and I'll admit to a suspicion that he was Jewish even after discovering that he wasn't. This is partly because Wikipedia had Geithner listed as Jewish before changing its listing; and partly because there is a trend for the financial positions in the United States government to be weighted towards the Jewish side - which makes a supposition that Geithner might be Jewish perfectly natural. I am semi-literate, I believe, with a degree in English literature from Oxford University. I believe that the world economy is constantly extremely involved with the position of Jews. For example, the current recession is not unrelated to the pretence that nothing needed to be addressed in the world order after September 11 (which was an attack upon Jews). The Jews have this secret (even from themselves) which they don't want people to know about, which is that they are using America and Americans to keep them masters of Arabia. Instead of publicly mentioning or privately recognising this secret and its relation to the deaths of 3000 innocent Americans, simple-minded George Bush and his team of oil crooks embarked on an aggressive consolidation of previous policy, in collusion with the interests of zionists, which implicitly encouraged economic growth at home based on misconceived premises, growth which is now being reversed. The point I am making is that this economic growth and now recession was based on an misconceived philosophy that significantly related to the interests of Jews. I suspect this recession would not have been so possible were it not necessary for the business of Jews to be suppressed from the thoughts of humankind! In fact the recession and other world issues have a lot to do with Jews and their publicly unrecognised issues. It is regrettable that we aren't able to talk about it openly and in a mature fashion (or an immature one for that matter). Even more regrettable, perhaps, that those who are not in a position to understand may now start to take it out on innocent Jewish people.
     
  • I Bet Ahmadinejad Wouldn't Let This Happen in Iran

    James Kirchick, who profiled the below-mentioned neocon gay porn king in The New Republic, passed along this press release:

     June 15, 2009 (New York, NY) -- Lucas Entertainment is proud to announce that production has wrapped on its groundbreaking adult feature, MEN OF ISRAEL. This endeavor marks a first in the gay pornographic world, as the premier Israeli film produced by major adult studio with an all-Israeli cast. Executive Producer/Co-Director Michael Lucas and Co-Director/Videographer mr. Pam were on location for over a month, diligently scouting and shooting extensive amounts of footage for the film. MEN OF ISRAEL captures not only the irreproachable, physical beauty found in each and every Israeli, but also the unique and wondrous allure of the country itself. The exotic backdrops for many of the sex scenes eclectically range from the pristine desert cliffs of the Dead Sea, ancient ruins near Jerusalem dating back to over a millennium, to avant-garde skyscraper condos in the enriched metropolis of Tel Aviv.
  • Latest Anti-Israel Idiocy, Trader Joe's Edition

    Now the anti-Israel maniacs want people to boycott "Israeli couscous" at Trader Joe's. What prejudice! Israel has problems, yes (why, I just posted on one such problem), but the hard-left boycott-Israel folks are so discriminatory it's repulsive. My recommendation: Head to Trader Joe's and buy anything made or grown in Israel. I hear the Israeli couscous goes well with grilled scapegoat, by the way.  

  • American Jews and Settlements: A Divorce in Progress

    In an op-ed piece in the Jerusalem Post, Samuel Freedman writes:

    With President Barack Obama's forceful, repeated calls for a total freeze on settlements, he is surely betting that he can assail a consistent policy of Israeli governments, both Labor and Likud, without alienating his substantial support among American Jewish voters.

    Freedman has written an important piece. The leadership of the organized American Jewish community - that means you, Malcolm Hoenlein - doesn't seem to understand what is happening in America, among its Jews, and also, by the way, among its non-Jews. American Jews - or let's say, for argument's sake, the Jews who voted for Obama, which is to say, most Jews - no longer conflate support for Israel with support for the settlement movement. Quite the opposite: Many American Jews see the settlements, as I have written many times, as the vanguard of binationalism, which is to say, an ostensibly Zionist movement that is anti-Zionist in effect. But liberal American Jews not only see the colonization of the West Bank as a demographic threat to Israel; they see it as a moral threat as well, a moral threat to Israel, and a moral threat to the previously mainstream understanding that justice is on Israel's side.
     
    What all this means politically is that Obama is positioned now, in ways that previous American presidents weren't, to tell Israel what it needs to hear; that the Zionist idea is just, but that the Palestinian idea has justice to it as well. He will be able to cajole, and ultimately force, Israel to make compromises that might be painful short-term (Judea and Samaria, a/k/a the West Bank, is historically Jewish, as well as, more recently, Palestinian) but that will save the Jewish democratic idea.
     
    Malcolm Hoenlein and the other grandees of the organized American Jewish leadership believe that masses of Jews will rise up against Obama if he forces Israel out of its settlements. They won't. I believe the majority of American Jews want two things: A secure Israel, and a moral Israel that is a light unto the nations. Settlements make Israel insecure, and they make it seem immoral in the eyes of the world.

  • The Media Will Regret This

    You can already imagine the self-lacerating criticism to come, once people in the news profession realize that they've become a bit too forgiving -- that's a mild word for it -- of the Obama Administration. David Zurawik writes, in reference to the upcoming ABC News broadcast from the White House:

    "[T]he TV press desperately needs to step back and question how it is covering President Barack Obama... It really is a cozy game that the White House is playing with the TV news industry, and it will be too late for us as citizens when some enterprising journalist (are there any left?) chronicles it in a book that is published two years from now. But wait, she or he will have to have access to the White House to get a decent advance, which demands its own kind of getting into bed with the administration."
  • The Taboo That Won't Shut Up

    Stephen Walt's desperate effort to portray himself as a brave truth-teller battling the cabal of Americans who happen to like Israel continues apace. (I have promised myself never to mention Walt, or his more academically-accomplished though equally-grubby partner, John Mearsheimer, without quoting Walt's Foreign Policy colleague David Rothkopf on their detestable careers: "They may not be anti-Semites themselves but they made a cynical decision to cash in on anti-Semitism by offering to dress up old hatreds in the dowdy Brooks Brothers suits of the Kennedy School and the University of Chicago."
     
    After the President's very good speech in Cairo (in which he expressed disagreement with Israel's current course vis-a-vis settlements) Walt informed us that the subject of even-handedness in Middle East policy-making "had become something of a taboo issue, especially for anyone seeking a prominent career in American politics or in the U.S. foreign policy establishment." This is part of their campaign: To argue implicitly that the Jews will strike down anyone who dares question America's support for Israel. This argument also helped sell their pernicious book (published by one of the most esteemed houses in America), an irony they refuse to acknowledge.  In any case, it struck me that the "taboo" of which they speak is actually no taboo at all, in the following two senses: People talk about the power of so-called Israel Lobby all the time; and they are generally not punished for speaking up (Charles Freeman was not marginalized, by the way, for speaking against the "Israel Lobby," but for his obsessional loathing of the very idea of Israel, and of course for his shilling for Saudi Arabia, and for his deep sympathy for China's Communist rulers.).

    In any case, if it is indeed a taboo to talk about the power of the so-called Israel lobby, it is a taboo that won't shut up. Here's some evidence:

    Roger Cohen, NYT, March 16, 2009: "Another distinctive characteristic of Iran is the presence of the largest Jewish community in the Muslim Middle East in the country of the most vitriolic anti-Israel tirades. My evocation of this 25,000-strong community, in the taboo-ridden world of American Middle East debate, has prompted fury, nowhere more so than here in Los Angeles, where many of Iran's Jewish exiles live."

    Charles Freeman, CNN, March 15, 2009:  "The objective of their campaign against me was to reinforce that hammerlock, to enforce the taboo against any critical discussion of Israeli policies and what they might mean for Israel's future or the future of the United States as affected by Israel's future; to ensure that this group -- which is a very well-organized group, as can be readily discerned from their messages crowing about how they organized this campaign -- to reinforce their veto power over appointments to the government; to ensure that analysis was not value- free, but pro-Israel in orientation and, to some extent, anti-Arab; and finally, to ensure that the policy process remains supportive of whatever it is that whoever is in power in Israel demands."

    Scott Williamson, Indianapolis Star, March 13, 2009: Freeman's appointment in the face of such heated criticism would have been a blow to the taboo that forbids our public officials from disagreeing with Israeli policies. Instead, the successful character assassination campaign waged against him will serve as a reminder that there is still a price to be paid for criticizing Israel's actions.

    Editorial, The Daily Star (Beirut), March 12, 2009: One of the biggest challenges that President Barack Obama will face in office will be to confront a problem that directly impacts US national security, but that is so taboo that few people in Washington are willing to talk about it openly. That problem is America's blind support of Israeli terrorism.

    Glenn Greenwald, Salon, March 10, 2009: In the U.S., you can advocate torture, illegal spying, and completely optional though murderous wars and be appointed to the highest positions. But you can't, apparently, criticize Israeli actions too much or question whether America's blind support for Israel should be re-examined.

    Christopher Ketcham, AlterNet, March 10, 2008: "Breaking the Taboo on Israel's Spying Efforts on the United States"

    Paul J. Bailes, redress.cc, March 8, 2009: About the worst thing one can do in America or Europe is to criticize Israel. "Freedom" even in academia doesn't allow critical comments about Israel or Zionism. Those who risk it can lose their jobs and be labelled anti-Semitic bigots. ... The gravest injustice allows Zionists to silence honest critics for violating the Zionist taboo.

    More »

  • Chait v. Kagan

    Kagan says Obama is objectively pro-Ahmadinejad. Chait says, bullshit. I think I'm with Chait on this one: Obama is simply being careful. Iranian reformers don't need vociferous American support right now; such support would only serve as ammunition for Ahmadinejad. 

  • GPack on America's Foreign Policy Pathologies

    An excellent piece -- read the whole thing:

    "[T]he crisis in Iran has flushed out all the pathologies of American foreign-policy thinking, or feeling, in the post-Bush era. It's become weirdly difficult for commentators on both the right and the left to have anything close to a normal reaction to what the world is seeing. Instead, everything gets filtered through what you think about Bush, Iraq, Obama, Israel, and other subjects that have extremely tenuous connections to internal politics in Iran and the actions of the people and the state there. On the one hand, certain neoconservatives and hard-line defenders of Israel (Max Boot, Daniel Pipes) have sounded not in the least sorry about Ahmadinejad's corrupt re-election, or even come right out and welcomed it, demonstrating that neoconservatism is an offshoot of Leninism in its preference for the morally bankrupt position of "the worse, the better." (Credit where it's due: Bill Kristol's view on the events in Iran is uncharacteristically restrained.) Martin Peretz so despises the Islamic world that he's convinced himself (going on nothing more than a "sense") that Iran, contrary to all the evidence, is overwhelmingly Ahmadinejad country.
  • 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.

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