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.

  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Herring

    From Goldblog Deputy Managing Editor for Smoked Fish Affairs Tali Yahalom: As the New Yorker learned at last month's annual Herring Festival, even prominent neurologists can appreciate the timeless kiddush snack:

    "There are certain passions--one wants to call them innocent, ingenuous passions--that are great democratizers. Baseball, music, and bird-watching come immediately to mind. At the herring festival, there was no talk about the stock market, or gossiping about celebrities. People had come to eat herring--to savor them, to compare them. In its purest form, this meant seizing the new herring by the tail and lowering them gently into the mouth. The sensation this produces is voluptuous, especially as they slip down the throat."
  • J Street's Ben-Ami on the Big Obama Meeting

    It must have been quite a sight, Jeremy Ben-Ami from J Street sitting with Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Really Major Jewish Organizations during yesterday's big White House palaver on the Middle East. There's a lot of resentment of J Street among New York professional Jews, but they're going to have to get used to J Street's presence at the table. I asked Goldblog Deputy Editor for Global Jewish Affairs Tali Yahalom to put a few questions to Ben-Ami about the meeting, where attendees discussed everything from the Bush administration to how good President Obama looks in a kippah. Here is their conversation:

    Tali Yahalom: What was the atmosphere like during yesterday's meeting?

    Jeremy Ben-Ami: The president sets the tone and the president is sort of serene. There's very much a sense of calm and thoughtfulness and it makes for a much more harmonious feel even when there's disagreement. I think the president sets the tone of 'we're talking within the family.' He even referred to this several times as an 'intra-family discussion.'

    TY: Was there any tension in the room?

    JB: I don't think any of that contentiousness really came into the room. The few comments that were made that were pushing the president were made in a very respectful and calm manner. And the president then respectfully and calmly pushed back. The whole conversation was done in a very appropriate tone and manner.

    TY: What kind of comments?

    JB: One is Malcolm Hoenlein's, and he's said this publicly, that he feels that history shows us that progress is made on the peace front when Israel and the U.S. are in lockstep and there's no daylight between them on their position publicly. And the president said 'With all due respect, I would disagree. For eight years under the prior administration, there was no daylight between the two sides and there was no progress on the peace front, and no hard decisions were confronted, no progress was made.' He very politely, but very clearly, disagrees with the notion that there shouldn't be a public space between the Israeli government's and the U.S. government's position. I think that's a very important point.

    And the second example would be a question of tone, where there are those in the room who would say that the president has been one-sided in his demands. And that he is only asking things of Israel, and the president really again pushed back, very calmly but firmly, and said no, that he has on every occasion, where he has spoken out publicly, and where the [U.S.] government has taken a position, made it clear that there are obligations and steps that must be taken by Israel, and obligations and steps that must be taken by Palestinians and the broader Arab community. If we're going to make progress, both sides have to live up to commitments and both sides have to take some steps.

    TY: Was anyone who disagreed with the President tense or annoyed at all? Was anyone muttering under his breath?

    JB: I felt none of that. The majority of the people in the room are folks who were supportive of the president's campaign. There were people in there who were lay leaders of organizations that are very supportive publicly of the president. People in the room who have had long relationships -- not me -- but people in the room who have long relationships with him, so it sort of set a tone of congeniality. So you know, even within the top leadership of the Jewish community, there are those like Eric Yoffie, on behalf of the Reform movement, who just come right out and say 'we are deeply supportive of what you're trying to do on settlements.' You got that tone in the room.

    TY: What was it like to be in the room with so many right-wing leaders? Was anyone resentful of your presence?

    JB: Certainly none of our inter-community discussions entered the room. It was not the place or time to be airing that out in front of the president. Statements made were of people's positions. The president got to hear a diversity of opinions that are held by Jewish Americans when it comes to Israel. There are some in the community who'd like to maintain that the Jewish community should speak with a unified voice on all things related to Israel. That simply isn't possible when there are serious disagreements within the community. 

    TY: Is Obama speaking differently about the Jews and Israeli-Palestinian issues? Has there been a change in tone?

    JB: I didn't hear any difference yesterday. I've heard a real consistency from the president throughout the campaign and throughout the early stages of the administration in his public speeches and again yesterday. A real consistency. I don't know that I hear a difference in tone. He is very clear that the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is a solid fundamental relationship and the security of Israel will always be a paramount interest to the U.S. -- he even said it in Cairo

    TY: The meeting was called in response to concerns from different Jewish leaders. Was there a sense that this was a meeting to do some crisis control?

    JB: I would disagree on that notion. There is a small handful of Jewish leaders ... who are publicly voicing their skepticism. There's a much broader array of people who are providing support. I think the purpose of the meeting was to allow a range of leaders and a range of groups to hear directly from the president what his strategy is, what he's thinking and what he's trying to accomplish.

    TY: What is the significance of Obama using the word 'pressure' rather than something milder like 'encouragement'?

    JB: He's talking about the very strong role for the U.S. and it grows out of a recognition that when parties have a dispute, it often requires an outside hand, and it's not enough to say to the parties -- as we've said in prior administrations -- that you talk amongst yourselves and figure it out. It's not enough. They'll ultimately have to agree. There can't be a solution which parties don't buy into, but the president, and the feeling among many scholars and diplomats, is that without an active U.S. leadership in achieving a resolution, it's not going to happen.

    TY: So is this the new paradigm for how Obama is going to deal with Jews on issues related to Israel?

    JB: The Bush administration spoke primarily to and drew support from a very limited portion of the community. I think what the president and the White House did yesterday was try to broaden the tent and bring to the table a set of voices that do reflect the diversity and the range of views within the Jewish community.

    TY: Do you think the concerns of Jewish leaders who worry about Obama's stance are alarmist?

    JB: I think the concerns about Barack Obama's support for Israel are misplaced. He clearly is approaching the issue from a deep sense of concern over the future of Israel, and in our opinion at J Street, and many others in the Jewish community and in Israel, he's correct in having that concern. The alarmist issue describes views of some of the more right-of-center leadership. They have been alarmist about raising concern about the president's support for Israel, which in our opinion is simply unquestionable.

  • I'm Beginning to Despise Southwest Airlines

    We fly Southwest whenever we can because we're a family of five and the Greyhound of the skies makes economic sense. Anyway, Southwest flies out to Denver more-or-less non-stop, and I'm a Rocky-Mountain-high kind of guy, and not just because of the subsidized family vacation known as the Aspen Ideas Festival (actually, it's not much of a vacation for me -- or, to put it another way, it's a vacation, but with half the State Department and a good portion of the Middle East diplomatic corps).

    I used to like Southwest very much; it was honest in its cheapness, and its flight attendants were actually quite charming. But now they seem to have become very surly. On our flight back from Denver the other day, they were mean, short-tempered and dismissive. I know it's a hard job, but they don't make it easier by alienating their customers.

    And there's one other problem with Southwest, apparently: They fly planes that have holes in their roofs (h/t Cindy Klein).

  • What if the U.S. Won the War in Iraq and No One Noticed?

    Michael Totten:

    The United States has basically won the war in Iraq. No insurgent or terrorist group can declare victory or claim Americans are evacuating Iraq's cities because they were beaten. America's most modest foreign policy objectives there have been largely secured. Saddam Hussein's toxic regime has been replaced with a more or less consensual government. I doubt very much that Iraq will seriously threaten the United States or its neighbors any time soon. It isn't likely to be ruled by terrorists as it probably would have been if the United States left between 2004 and 2007. It's a relief. A few years ago, I was all but certain the U.S. would withdraw under fire and leave Iraq in the hands of militias. Even so, many have a hard time feeling optimistic about the future. Iraq remains, in some ways, a threat to itself.
  • The US. Should Worry When Israel Gets Quiet

    An Israeli nuclear attack on Iran is actually not going to happen in the near future. Maybe. According to Michael Weiss in the suddenly-indispensable Tablet Magazine, Bibi, despite periodic speculation to the contrary, will wait to see what, if anything, Obama can accomplish in the coming months:

    No one doubts that Israel is willing to take unilateral action if U.S.-led talks with Iran--direct or otherwise--fail to stop its march toward nukes. And they agree it's clear that Israel has the capacity to strike what's known as the three nodes of Iran's nuclear infrastructure--the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, the nuclear research center and uranium conversion facility at Esfahan, and the heavy water plant and future plutonium production reactors at Arak--with either Israeli Air Force bombers or land-based missiles. But it's unlikely, they say, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will reach that conclusion in the coming weeks or months.

  • Krugman Gets It

    At least on boiled frogs:

    Is America on its way to becoming a boiled frog?

    I'm referring, of course, to the proverbial frog that, placed in a pot of cold water that is gradually heated, never realizes the danger it's in and is boiled alive. Real frogs will, in fact, jump out of the pot -- but never mind. The hypothetical boiled frog is a useful metaphor for a very real problem: the difficulty of responding to disasters that creep up on you a bit at a time.

    Even the President of the United States doesn't seem to understand that real frogs jump out of boiling pots. Score one for Krugman.

  • Was it Me That Shot Him Down in the Cantina?

    Speaking of Durango, loyal Goldblog reader D., like many Goldblog readers, is a partisan of Mr. Robert Zimmerman, and he passed along this clip from Mr. Zimmerman's incomprehensible movie "Renaldo and Clara." It's best to ignore the white face and enjoy the song. (I happen to think that Desire is Dylan's best album, but that might be because "Joey" inspired me to become a mob reporter). So, as Hyman Roth once said, enjoy:

  • Durango Blogging

    I don't think this is the Durango Bob Dylan was singing about. There aren't any hot chili peppers in the blistering sun, just a really crappy Best Western motel and a tourist railroad that runs to Silverton that seems like a nightmare to someone such as myself, who is always looking for an exit from crappy tourist adventures. In any case, there won't be much blogging this week -- we're heading to Monument Valley in search of the ghost of John Ford. I'll let you know what we find.

  • On Those Atlantic Salon Dinners

    Marc Ambinder has interesting thoughts on the big boss's note to us employees on the suddenly-controversial salon dinner business. I myself have never attended one of these underwritten dinners, so I can't say for sure, but I see no crime here committed against journalism. In fact, I'm glad David Bradley is busy searching for legal and ethical ways to keep the Atlantic funded. In double-fact, he seems to be branching out in all sorts of unusual directions

  • Would the Saudis Help Israel Strike Iran?

    I discuss the possibility of a Sunni-Jewish alliance against Iran in this piece; now comes a report that the Saudis might be willing to let Israel fly over their territory on their way to and from Iran:

    The head of Mossad, Israel's overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran's nuclear sites. Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad's director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.
  • Is Israel Safe for Jews?

    Here's my interview with Michael Oren, the new Israeli ambassador to the U.S., at the Aspen Ideas Festival. I asked Michael various deep questions about the relationship between the Diaspora and Israel, Israel's morality, and so on. He did very well, according to the audience:



Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.


Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.


How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming



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