Jeffrey Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as 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.

His 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. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. 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. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

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.

  • 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.

  • On the Difference Between Jews and Zionists

    In re: Rev. Wright's recent comments, Goldblog reader Doron Arazi shares this Soviet-era joke:

    A prominent scientist is being summoned to his institute's party secretary.
    "Comrade professor", says the secretary gravely, "the Party has started a new anti-Zionist campaign. Our institute was ordered to purge all residual Zionist influences among  intellectuals and scientists. So, you're fired."
    The professor is shocked. "But I am a loyal party member!"' he protests. "I have never been a Zionist!"
    The party secretary knits his eyebrows very tight. "Comrade professor, do not try to deceive the party!" he says. "We checked. You have a Zionist grandmother."
  • Bibi Leaves His Father's Home

    Ari Shavit:

    Benjamin Netanyahu crossed the Rubicon yesterday. In order to serve the country, he abandoned his father's ideological home. The decision to leave his home came at great emotional cost. The prime minister agonized for 10 days over the text that would redefine him. But in the end, Netanyahu did the right thing. He neither stuttered nor blinked. Instead, he placed the spotlight squarely on one irreplaceable phrase: a demilitarized Palestinian state next to a Jewish State of Israel.

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Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

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What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

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Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

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Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

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Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

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The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

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