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.

  • That Washington Post Crash Piece: A Dissent

    John Judis didn't think much of that piece by Eli Saslow I linked to before, on the survivors of the Red Line crash. He argues that the Washington Post has ignored systemic problems with Metro, and has instead provided its readers with "fluff":

    And now in the wake of the Metro crash, how is the newspaper responding?   With a front page fluff piece on three people who survived the crash.  Maybe it's a wonderful piece, a real tear-jerker by an author with the skills of a Tony Lukas or Joan Didion.  I don't know, because I am not wasting my time reading it. I am still waiting for the newspaper to do what local newspapers should do, and get to the bottom of what happened, and do it in a way that will prevent future crashes.

    I'm not in a position to argue that the Washington Post has adequately covered problems in the Metro system; Judis makes a strong case that it hasn't.  I don't think, however, that the piece today was "fluff," and I think Judis would see that if he had actually read it before he condemned it. And by the way, bringing the human tragedy of the crash to light can only help spark the outrage necessary to reform the system.

  • Let's See the Huffington Post Try to Do This

    The Washington Post today features a beautifully-written article by Eli Saslow about the people who survived the Red Line crash on the Washington Metro earlier this week. The story is deeply-reported, authoritative, riveting and altogether a reproach to those who say that newspapers are somehow unnecessary, that the Huffington sweatshop and Google and the Daily Beast will keep us sufficiently informed. Read the whole thing and tell me I'm wrong.  

  • The Appalachian Trail

    I'm not hiking it (literally or euphemistically) but I'm heading out today for Colorado, which is like the Appalachian Trail but with less air. A bunch of us from The Atlantic will be there in the coming days for the Aspen Ideas Festival. Blogging will be light for the next little while because I'll be busy testing my ideas on the elk.

  • Does Gov. Sanford Suffer from Dissociative Fugue?

    Gov. Sanford's strange vanishing act -- he was thought to be hiking the Appalachian Trail alone, until he washed up in Argentina -- prompts me to wonder if he suffers from a condition known as dissociative fugue disorder. When a person is in this fugue state, he'll pick up and travel suddenly to some random point, not at all sure why he's doing it, and sometimes with little memory of who he is. For a fuller description of this unusual condition, read this. Here's one interesting observation from the Merck Manual:

    Dissociative fugue is often mistaken for malingering because both conditions may give people an excuse to avoid their responsibilities (as in an intolerable marriage), to avoid accountability for their actions, or to reduce their exposure to a known hazard, such as a battle. However, dissociative fugue, unlike malingering, occurs spontaneously and is not faked.

    If I were on Sanford's spin patrol, I'd certainly look into this.

  • What Roger Cohen Saw

    Andrew writes of Roger Cohen:

    He too saw this coming, and was vilified by the usual suspects for reaching for peace. If you want to read classic old media journalism by a reporter with passion and courage, his missive tonight is as good as it gets. Cohen proves the old media is not dead. May it rise again.

    On behalf of the "usual suspects," let me just say this: Roger Cohen in no way "saw this coming." In fact, he made a name for himself internationally as one of the leading Western apologists for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, arguing that the regime was substantially benign and that engagement with these murderers was practically a moral necessity. He saw nothing coming, nothing at all. He has even admitted as much. To his credit, last week he wrote: "I erred in underestimating the brutality and cynicism of a regime that understands the uses of ruthlessness."

  • When Iranian Demonstrators and Bibi Netanyahu Agree

    Strange days. This is from CNN:

    Mohammad: Excuse me, sir. I have a message for the international community. Would you please let me tell it?

    Roberts: Yes, go ahead.

    Mohammad: Americans, European Union, international community, this government is not definitely -- is definitely not elected by the majority of Iranians. So it's illegal. Do not recognize it. Stop trading with them. Impose much more sanctions against them. My the international community, especially I'm addressing President Obama directly - how can a government that doesn't recognize its people's rights and represses them brutally and mercilessly have nuclear activities? This government is a huge threat to global peace. Will a wise man give a sharp dagger to an insane person? We need your help international community. Don't leave us alone.

    Chetry: Mohammad, what do you think the international community should do besides sanctions?

    Mohammad: Actually, this regime is really dependent on importing gasoline. More than 85% of Iran's gasoline is imported from foreign countries. I think international communities must sanction exporting gasoline to Iran and that might shut down the government.

  • What if Khamenei and Ahmadinejad Win?

    A terrible thought, but what if the Iranian regime actually suppresses the revolt of the Iranian masses?

    I don't think this is possible, in the long run, of course: A regime that slaughters its own children has no future. But it can presumably maintain its grip on power for at least a while. What does this mean for its looming confrontation with America and, in particular, Israel, over its nuclear program? Do the events of recent days prove Benjamin Netanyahu right?

    Yesterday, on Meet the Press, Netanyahu told David Gregory that recent events have "unmasked" the true nature of the regime, and this is undoubtedly true: No one, not even the regime's apologists, believes that these men are secret moderates interested in seeing Iran rejoin the civilized world. So in one way, the regime's murderous response to dissent helps Netanyahu make his case that this is indeed a fanatic regime. But recent events also cut against Netanyahu's analysis, I think: The Iranian regime has exposed itself as interested mainly in self-preservation. Netanyahu told me earlier this spring that Iran is run by a "messianic, apocalyptic cult." But I think there's an argument to be made that Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are grubby men mainly interested in perpetuating their power. In other words, they seem to behave like rather quotidian dictators, not religious fanatics. A confrontation with Israel would certainly threaten the stability of their regime, and the stability of their regime is something they quite obviously cherish.

  • Trader Joe's Update (Plus: What is Israeli Couscous?)

    Goldblog reader Guy Handelman writes:

    I just came back from Trader Joes.  The manager told me that they only carry 2 Israeli products (couscous and feta cheese).  They already sold out of feta cheese, so I bought a box of couscous.  It looks like the anti-Israel folks picked the wrong store to boycott.

    And this, from the Los Angeles Jewish Journal:

    In Los Angeles... the only unusual activity reported was that of local patrons walking into the national food chain to ask to buy Israeli products in specific.

    Since Trader Joe's only stocks two Israeli products, you'd think that the International Campaign to Scapegoat Israel would have picked a better target.

    One other question has been raised in all this: Just what is Israeli couscous? As a friend once asked, isn't Israeli couscous Israeli the way that French toast is French? I'm not sure of the answer -- I suppose there could be an Israeli variant, developed in Israel's large community of Moroccan Jews -- but this question reminds me of the great hummus debate, as well as the periodic eruption of falafel fighting, described here in this Times article by Jodi Kantor:

    It's nice to think that sharing a cherished food brings enemies together, easing tension and misunderstanding. But the world's rawest conflicts can include disagreements over common foodstuffs. Irish Catholics and Protestants have lightly bickered over whiskey. Turks and Greeks have feuded over coffee. And Jews and Arabs argue about falafel in a way that reflects the wider conflict, touching on debates over territory and history. ''Food always migrates according to immigration and commerce,'' said Yael Raviv, an Israeli student at New York University who wrote her Ph.D. thesis on Israeli nationalism and cuisine. ''But because of the political situation, falafel has taken on enormous significance.''
  • 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 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.


A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book


The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"


This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.


What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.



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